Cashiers TTA briefs county on marketing efforts

The Cashiers Travel and Tourism Authority briefed Jackson County commissioners on some of their marketing campaigns from the year, responding to calls that the agency was too insular.

Mark Jones, a member of the Cashiers tourism board who is also a Jackson County commissioner, gave a presentation on the agency’s advertising for the year, including samples of ads that have been placed in various magazines and travel articles written about Cashiers.

Jones said the Cashiers tourism board plans to get new software that will allow it to share  the names and contact information for prospective tourists with lodging owners and other tourism businesses. When prospective tourists call, email or respond to magazine ads requesting information on visiting Cashiers, the Cashiers tourism agency sends them brochures. A new system will allow the database of names to be made available to those in the tourism industry who may want to follow up with brochures and literature of their own, Jones said.

Jones said the Cashiers tourism agency is more than happy to provide a regular report to the county.

“We truly want transparency,” Jones said.

Sue Bumgarner, the director of the Cashiers Travel and Tourism Association, had not responded to earlier requests by the county to provide a progress report on its tourist promotions. Tourism in Jackson County has taken a hit in the recession, spurring interest at the county level on how to improve marketing.

All the invoices for the Cashiers tourism agency go through the county finance office, and Bumgarner has said she thought those invoices served as adequate reporting to the county on the agency’s activities.

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