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We need to know what we want in new CVB director first

What does Natchez want in a new CVB director and ultimately how many consultants are necessary to run the Natchez CVB?

We found ourselves asking those questions after Monday’s meeting of the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce’s tourism council.

The group, arguably one of the most direct and to-the-point tourism groups ever created in Natchez, was meeting to ensure its collective voice was expressed publicly as a search for a new Natchez CVB director gets under way.

Former CVB director Connie Taunton stepped down last week and is on leave until she officially retires April 1.

In recent years, the CVB has spent enormous sums of money on consultants and contractors to create websites, develop social media identities and research things, yet it seems the majority of tourism industry leaders are never happy with the CVB’s efforts.

That is in part to be expected. No one is fully happy when a group is at play and compromise abounds.

But a bigger problem exists here. Many local tourism industry leaders simply haven’t felt they had a voice in CVB functions. It’s why the chamber group was formed in the first place. That can change soon, if all sides join together and build a consensus.

We urge the city to dig into the issues of hiring consultants and listen to the stakeholders in the city’s tourism efforts — businesses and property owners who depend upon tourism for their livelihood.

Like it or not, tourism is a huge part of our local economy and to maximize the efficiency of tourism, we must know where we’re headed and who’s driving the bus.

We applaud the chamber group’s efforts and encourage more such feedback and discussion.

As the search for the next CVB chief continues in earnest, tourism and city leaders are wise to ask: What qualities do we seek in the new leader?

Until we know that, figuring out who to hire and how many consultants are needed will be difficult if not impossible.

 

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