By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
The Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce is ramping up its focus on tourism, and is now seeking a full-time tourism director. The agency has also created a new, 11-person tourism board to focus solely on promoting travel and tourism in the area.
Plans to add a full-time tourism director have been in the works for almost a year, in cooperation with the City of Cullman and Cullman County Commission. With new projects like the Rock the South music festival and upcoming Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, officials on all sides say the hire could focus on new, untapped potential for growth.
Per the job listing, the Chamber is seeking someone with at least five years of experience in the tourism industry. A degree is preferred, but not mandatory, depending on experience. The salary will be commensurate with knowledge of the industry. Resumes will be accepted until May 29.
Chamber director Leah Bolin said the tourism department will have its own small staff and operate independently within the Chamber’s downtown office.
“They’ll share the facility, but the work will be strictly tourism,” she said. “They’ll be working on promoting the area and bringing new tourism dollars to the community. This is something that should have happened a long time ago, and we’re thrilled it’s finally come to fruition.”
The initiative has also helped recruit some former Chamber members back to the agency, as several local hotels that had left the Chamber upset about the past approach to tourism have reportedly returned and partnered in the new venture.
In addition to moving forward with a director, the Chamber has also founded a new 11-person board that will be tasked with promoting tourism and travel within Cullman County.
“After many months of planning, it is very gratifying for the chamber board and executive committee to see this become a reality,” Chamber Chair Melissa Cartee said in a prepared statement. “Collaborative efforts between both of these boards will enable our community to move forward in promoting the Cullman area.”
Board members held a meeting earlier this month, where they elected officers.
“I am honored to be elected to chair this board,” tourism board chairman Sammie Danford said in a prepared statement. “We are excited about our new direction and look forward to great things in the coming months.”
Tourism board members include Sammie Danford (Cullman County Economic Development), Susan Eller (Cullman City Economic Development) Elaine Fuller (Cullman County Museum) Rob Werner (Werner’s Trading), Amy Rama (Hampton Inn), Justin Gilley (Moe’s BBQ), Shelby Williams (Heritage Park), Brijesh Patel (Day’s Inn) Ben Harrison (Cullman Regional Airport), Mark Norman (Cracker Barrel), Rachel Peinhardt Dawsey (North Alabama Agriplex).
* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.