The Anson County Tourism Development Authority held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, discussing several current projects.
TDA director Dave Smith updated the board on his advertising efforts in various venues, including his request for a media kit from the Atlanta, Ga.-based travelgirl magazine. Smith said that a factor in his advertising venue choices are partially influenced by the fact that women make 75 percent of family travel decisions, thus making women a key demographic to reach.
TDA vice chairman Jeff Boothby gave the board’s financial report, saying that as of November, the TDA has over 71 percent of its budget left for fiscal year 2012-2013. The TDA also has an average increase of over 17 percent in revenues for this fiscal year so far, according to Boothby, who hopes that the upcoming holidays will positively affect the increase.
The board also discussed creating a committee for historical projects. Boothby stated that the board needs to compile a list of potential volunteers who might be interested in working with the historical groups. The goal would be to have volunteers to serve in various capacities, such as tour guides. Group discussion included suggestions that the volunteers have consistent times to staff the museums and that the historical society possibly implement a small minimum donation in order to generate income. TDA chairwoman Jessica Anderson suggested that if enough volunteers were recruited they could work shorter two- to four-hour shifts rather than have a couple of volunteers work all day. Boothby encouraged board members to send him lists of candidates they thought might be interested in volunteering.
Boothby also provided an update on the proposed county blueway, saying that the grant funds are available and that someone just needs to do it. “I feel like we could use this as a main advertising point,” Boothby said. The proposed blueway would use the Pee Dee River, with the blueway ideally extending through Union and Stanly counties and creating nearly 100 miles of blueway trails to the South Carolina state line, with 53 miles in Anson including accesses, according to Boothby and Anderson.
The board also discussed the Central Park Bicycle Plan, which is still in the planning stages, according to Anderson. Currently, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is planning to create bicycle lanes and signage, according to Anderson. More information on the Central Park Bicycle Plan, including maps and the spring 2012 meeting minutes for Anson County, is available at www.ptrc.org.
The board also discussed a possible cornbread-bakeoff to be held in Morven, which Smith proposed to the Morven Town Council on Nov. 5; the council expressed interest at that meeting in the bakeoff and encouraged Smith to approach them again after hearing more about sponsors. Anderson suggested gauging interest in national sponsors; suggestions for sponsors ranged from cornbread companies to cookware companies.
Smith’s suggestion to add further marketing areas on the travel site guestquest.com was tabled until after efforts with the historical project and the blueway have hopefully generated guests and income. “We need to be able to say, ‘Look— come here for this,’” Boothby said. The historical project and blueway would provide definite attractions to promote instead of a general county location, giving the TDA specific points of interest to market.
The board went into closed session to discuss personnel matters before adjourning.