Lorie Smith: Moving forward with a tourism strategy

Column by Lorie Smith

I’m happy to report that last week’s Tourism Summit was a tremendous success! Approximately 35 business representatives and interested citizens came out to show support for a strategic tourism initiative in Waynesboro.

All in attendance agreed that city officials, business owners and residents must partner and collaborate to aggressively market Waynesboro as a tourist destination. Given our proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail, not to mention countless other regional attractions, Waynesboro is ideal for daytrips and multi-day stays. Additionally, the South River makes Waynesboro an attractive destination for outdoor enthusiasts and sportsmen.

We are surrounded by stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, historic spots, outdoor recreation, wineries and so much more. It’s time that Waynesboro capitalizes on our assets and brings tourism revenue to our city. Tourism can play a key role in growing our economic base, developing new job opportunities and keeping our taxes low.

I have 8-10 motivated individuals and business owners who are interested in forming a Tourism Advisory Group. In the coming weeks, I’ll work closely with this group to schedule initial meetings and brainstorm about strategies. I envision this as an independent group that will partner with Waynesboro’s Office on Economic Development and the Economic Development Authority. With grassroots effort from local citizens and businesses, Waynesboro has unlimited tourism potential.

I’m eager to keep the positive momentum from the Tourism Summit going. Please feel free to e-mail me if you are interested in participating in this exciting initiative.

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