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Karen Riordan, president and CEO of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, said her organization of business leaders has all the ingredients it needs to boost the regional economy, but with her new five-point plan for growth, now it has a recipe for success.
“I feel like this past year was a great foundation but I think we can expect greater growth by using all these ingredients in the most powerful way possible,” Riordan said. “It’s gratifying to see we’re in the right place but I think we can go even further.”
During the Alliance’s annual membership meeting Thursday, Riordan presented a five-point plan the Alliance will implement this year:
- Meet the needs of our business members in the areas of: advocacy for pro-business issues, educational opportunities to increase business knowledge and business networking that creates B2B and B2C sales leads
- Continue to grow the tourism economy with demonstrable results
- Promote the destination brand consistently in leisure, conference and group tours
- Marketing seasonal and sports tourism programs to drive year round sales
- Work to be a respected community-oriented organization that supports Armed Forces, Education, Economic Development, Health, Government Affairs and Workforce Development
“The focus is really on growth for the coming year,” Riordan said. “We have to keep pushing forward and we have to keep growing.”
Riordan highlighted the current year’s marketing campaign, which encourages visitors and residents to find their freedom, whether it’s a freedom to relax, have fun or satisfy curiosity.
Leigh Houghland, who began his term as chairman of the Alliance’s board on Thursday, said tourism revenue leads to “increased revenues, increased profits” for all businesses in Greater Williamsburg, ultimately supporting the broader economy.
Additionally, Riordan said the Alliance wants to reach brides as a new target audience, which it intends to market “aggressively” by attending bridal shows.
Between Williamsburg Fall Arts and Christmas activities will be a new culinary event, the Williamsburg Harvest Celebration, from Nov. 11 to Nov. 15, Riordan said.
She said the Alliance would be “bullish” about bringing sports teams to the Historic Triangle, which she said the Alliance sees as an important sports marketing opportunity.
“We need to be confident, we need to be proud, and we need to be messengers to the greater community that Williamsburg is open for business,” Riordan said.