|Chamber director may promote area tourism|
|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 22 December 2010 00:00|
Promoting tourism has increasingly become an activity run by professionals.
With that in mind, the Camp Verde Town Council last week appointed Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tracie Schimikowsky to officially represent the town in that capacity.
Pending approval by the Northern Arizona Council of Governments, an organization that represents the interests of municipalities in this part of the state, Schimikowsky will sit on NACOG’s tourism committee, a subcommittee of the group’s economic development council.
The seat is currently held by Councilwoman Norma Garrison, who was appointed to replace a previous representative from the chamber of commerce.
Initially, Garrison was requested to sit on the committee to help organize the Camp Verde portion of a regional tour of the area for officials from across Northern Arizona.
“It was easy; all I had to do was talk about my town,” Garrison said. “We just wanted to promote all of Northern Arizona, not just the Grand Canyon, Sedona or Page, but all of the communities.”
Now, Garrison is the only remaining elected official on the committee because the other seats have been filled by people who promote tourism for a living.
“I don’t mind the meetings, I’ve been doing it for three and a half years,” Garrison said. “The issue here is what’s best for my town.”
By appointing Schimikowsky as a replacement, Garrison said the committee would have someone who could “put a little bit more into the conversation.”
“We’d be better represented by someone who does this for a living,” Garrison said.
Schimikowsky has 12 years of experience in the tourism industry, seven in the resort business and five working with the chamber.
Garrison and Schimikowsky allayed fears last week Garrison said some residents had brought to her attention. Namely, as the director of the chamber of commerce, Schimikowsky would only be looking out for the interests of businesses that were chamber members.
Schimkowsky said she currently serves on two other regional boards, the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization and the Sedona/Verde Valley Tourism Council.
“On those boards, I represent the community,” Schimikowsky said. “The chamber hat comes off.
“[Serving on the NACOG committee] I would represent the community of Camp Verde, not the chamber of commerce members. That’s totally different; it would be just about Camp Verde and what it has to offer.”
Mayor Bob Burnside agreed putting Schimikowsky on the committee was a good idea.
“It’s going to take professionals to help get this state back into a stable economic position,” Burnside said.
Garrison will keep her seat on the economic development committee, which will leave the authority for decision making in the hands of an elected council member, since that committee must approve any decisions made by the tourism committee.
If approved to serve, Schimikowsky will take a seat on the tourism committee in April.