03/31/06 — Tourism summit held

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Tourism summit held

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on March 31, 2006 1:46 PM

Officials from across Wayne County met Wednesday to talk about how they can develop and promote the county's potential for cultural and heritage tourism.

The group, including representatives from the county, several municipalities and the county Chamber of Commerce met at the Goldsboro Country Club.

Jeff Bockert and Si Lawrence of the state Department of Cultural Resources asked attendees about their goals for tourism in Wayne in the next five years.

During the discussion, people brought up how there is a lack of funding for tourist sites and events, which makes it difficult to market an event. Also, they said, it is difficult to put on an event when organizations lack volunteers.

One suggestion included holding an annual Hispanic festival.

Another suggestion was for the county to combine events to create a weekend festival. Bockert, a Civil War specialist for the Department of Cultural Resources, said combining events is known as laddering -- when you want to come for one thing and stay for another.

"You've got a lot of ideas in place and you have things that are successful on a small scale, but you can put it together and it can be bigger," he said.

Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Steve Hicks said the summit said attendees could see that they much in common.

"We have aired out our ideas and concerns and we can see what has happened in the last year. People have a lot a lot of the same concerns and solutions. If you are interested in another meeting to discuss further about ideas from today, I think we should do it," Hicks said.

County Manager Lee Smith suggested the group should meet again soon to keep its momentum going.

"We won't get funds if we don't act together," Smith said. "If we use all of our resources, then we've got so much that we can do. We have plenty of opportunity and we can do a lot, but we need a plan to do it."