County’s new Destination Marketing Organization appoints board of directors

(Gazette file photo)

SARAH WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

The municipality’s new Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) called Visit The County is taking shape with the recent appointment of its first board of directors.

The following applicants were selected by a nominating committee and subsequently approved by council: Christal Agostino, Mikki Arends, Rachel Baque, Sarah Doiron, Sherry Karlo, Rebecca Mackenzie, and Charles McKee.

There were 33 applicants.

Council appointed John Hirsch as its representative on the DMO board. Public directors will serve a two-year term, while the appointed councillor will serve until the end of this Council’s term.

The DMO is a non-profit entity responsible for promoting the community as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live, work and play.

Visit The County will work closely with The County to address tourism management as well as marketing.

“The County is grateful to all the tourism stakeholders and partners who have been involved, supportive, and patient throughout this process to date,” Mayor Steve Ferguson said. “It is exciting to move into the final phase of the transition so that the DMO and its passionate and talented board of directors can start to put their energy and focus on moving forward the work of responsible tourism marketing and promotion.”

The inaugural board of directors include a mix of those involved in and benefitting from tourism, as well as those fully removed from the industry but possessing skills and qualifications that make them an ideal fit for representing the diversity of the community.

Council also agreed to have Mayor Ferguson extend an invitation to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte to appoint an additional director to the inaugural Visit The County Board, upon recommendation from the Nominating Committee.

The first meeting of the Visit The County board of directors will take place later this month following the June 21, 2022 meeting of Council and legal incorporation.

There will be other opportunities to get involved with Visit The County with working groups and/or committee anticipated as part of early discussions with the board.

Visit The County is expected to seek candidates for the full-time staff position of Strategic Implementation Lead who will work with tourism stakeholders, and partner organizations/associations to support the day-to-day operations of the DMO. With help from County staff, the new Board will likely launch a competition later this month, and the contract could be awarded for this position in August.

Several years after the municipality implemented the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT), the soon to be operational DMO will receive most of these funds. However, Stay PEC- an independently run conglomeration of accommodation providers-will receive a lesser portion of the MAT.

At the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 9, Council agreed to recognize Stay PEC as a stand-alone tourism entity, eligible for a portion of the MAT revenues due to their legal status prior to the creation of the MAT framework in Prince Edward County.

The majority of MAT funds will go to Visit The County. The agreement will go to Council for ratification on June 21.

In consultation with members of the Stay PEC Board, a Financial Accountability Agreement has been created between The County and Stay PEC to honour the legal requirement to recognize them as an eligible entity.

The agreement also stipulates a desire for both DMOs to work in partnership to support tourism marketing and management.

A history of the DMO transition to date and next steps can be found on Have Your Say.

To learn more about Visit The County and how to get involved contact Rebecca Lamb, Destination Marketing and Development Coordinator, at rlamb@pecounty.on.ca or call 613-503-1309.