During the group’s May meeting, committee members charged with assessing the possibilities reported that they were beginning their work. Jackson TDA Chairman Robert Jumper described the committee’s task as “a feasibility study, basically.”
Committee members are currently arranging interviews with individuals likely to have insight into such matters. They plan to talk to their own board members, as well as the Jackson County and Cashiers chambers of commerce.
The committee also intends to speak with members of neighboring tourism development authorities.
“So they can get an idea, if they have an executive director, how’s that working out for them and what do they do for them?” Jumper explained.
The chairman said that the process was still in the early stages.
Jackson County’ tourism authority was formed last year. It currently has no paid staff and is comprised of volunteer board members. The authority contracts work, from marketing jobs to daily logistics, to outside firms, as well as to the chambers of commerce of Jackson and Cashiers.
The tourism authority is funded to the tune of $600,000 via a collected lodging tax. Currently, that money is spent on marketing contracts, as well as for services fulfilled by the respective chambers of commerce and for rent at visitor centers in Cashiers, Sylva and Dillsboro.
— News Editor Jeremy Morrison