Johnson City’s move to take more charge of promoting tourism in the area is a win for both residents and visitors.
Last week, city commissioners decided to separate the Johnson City Convention and Visitors Bureau from the Chamber of Commerce, an arrangement that has lasted for nearly four decades.
No disrespect to the folks at the Chamber, they’ve done a fine job, but with much of the city’s plan for economic growth centered on tourism, pulling the visitors bureau closer just makes sense.
With a city-appointed board, including a city commissioner and the city manager, the bureau’s and the city’s outside marketing efforts can be more streamlined. Johnson City will also have more oversight of the lodging taxes it contributes to the organization to drive tourism.
City Manager Pete Peterson recommended that city marketing and visitors bureau staff move into the same building, hopefully a new visitors center for the city.
That’s an excellent idea.
The current visitors center is in space that is too small, not visible enough and shared with the Chamber. It doesn’t make a good first impression.
Creating a visitors center in a friendlier, more eye-catching place — we’ve heard the former Ashe Street Courthouse may be a consideration — would help sell Johnson City to travelers who happen by.
With the city and the visitors bureau rowing in the same direction, it will be easier to get the word out about the area’s rich offerings and hopefully bring in more out-of-town money. Those outside dollars can help stave off tax increases for locals.
The reorganization shows initiative on the city’s part to be more involved in how it’s presented to potential visitors.
We’re glad the city’s being proactive and working to support the visitor’s bureau and its mission.