Monday, February 26, 2024

Tourism Council names new executive director

Victoria Cimino (WYDaily/Courtesy Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance)
Victoria Cimino (WYDaily/Courtesy Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance)

The Williamsburg Tourism Council has filled a position tasked with determining the fate of millions of dollars in tax revenue generated by Senate Bill 942.

Following a five-month search, Victoria Cimino has been hired as the new executive director and chief executive officer of the Williamsburg Tourism Council, the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance wrote in a news release.

She will start April 15.

The position falls under the Tourism Council arm of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, and was created through a restructuring within the organization.

The chamber and tourism alliance was reorganized following the departure of former president Karen Riordan and the passage of SB 942.

Senate Bill 942 went into effect July 1, and sets aside tax revenue generated by the $2 room tax from hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts and a 1 percent increase in state sales tax. Half of the funding from the taxes will go toward marketing the Historic Triangle as a tourist destination.

The Tourism Council and Cimino are tasked with increasing tourism and creating a community awareness of how the money from SB 942 is being spent, Tourism Council chairman and York County supervisor Jeff Wassmer has said.

“I am thrilled to be stepping into this role,” Cimino said in a prepared statement in the news release. “Tourism is critical to the region’s economic vitality and I look forward to achieving WTC’s goal of increased visitor spending throughout the area.”

Cimino is currently the director of the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development and has “spent the majority of her professional career providing communication solutions, counsel and creative direction to both government agencies and private sector organizations,” the chamber and tourism alliance wrote in the release.

During her tenure in New Hampshire, Cimino has helped increase direct visitor spending by 4 percent and increased rooms and meals tax revenue by 15 percent since 2015.

She also served as the director of international marketing for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, and worked in marketing in Boston and New York City.

“With the creation of the WTC by Senate Bill 942, bringing the right leadership is the most critical decision the Council will make,” Jeff Wassmer said. “We have great confidence that Vicki will bring an impressive skill set that’s a great fit for our destination. We are confident we’ve made the right choice and are anxious to begin this new phase to expand tourism and increase visitation.”

Cimino will oversee a staff of eight people and manage an annual marketing and sales budget of about $9 million to $12 million. That budget is generated by SB 942.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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