Archived News

Jackson TDA considers streamlining

The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority may be slimming down. Eventually. 

“It’s in discussion,” said Robert Jumper, chairman of the tourism authority. 

The Jackson TDA was launched by county commissioners and is charged with marketing the area and attracting tourist dollars. The tourism board currently consists of 15 members, all hailing from various pockets of the area’s tourism-related businesses. 

In November, Jumper told the Jackson County Board of Commissioners that things may go better with fewer members.

“I think that they’ve determined that 15 members are a lot of folks to try to herd,” County Manager Chuck Wooten told the commissioners.

“Ultimately, it’d be good to come down to nine,” Jumper followed up, explaining to commissioners that some members had difficulty making it to meetings and putting in the hours necessary.

Related Items

“It’s a big commitment of time, no doubt,” Wooten said. 

Jumper elaborated this week on the need to downsize the Jackson TDA.

“It’ll help us get a quorum, the functionality of the board will be a little better,” the chairman said. “It’s just very difficult for people to carve out time to do board work.”

Currently, the Jackson tourism board is comprised of members of the lodging community — from both large and small outfits — as well as the retail community. There are also members appointed by both the Cashiers and Jackson chambers of commerce. The TDA is in charge of spending the money raised by the tax on overnight lodging to market Jackson County and attract more tourists.

In addition to some members having difficulty making time for the TDA work, Jumper said that there was also an issue with being able to find enough members from the various camps of the tourism community.

“We wouldn’t need to hunt for so many candidates to fill these seats,” Jumper said. 

Wooten said that the topic of the tourism authority’s composition will not be taken up in earnest until two new commissioners, elected in November, take their seats on the board. Jumper estimated that the issue will be studied a bit longer, with a decision possibly made in June by the end of the fiscal year.

The chairman said that in initial board discussions regarding the concept of downsizing, the current 15 voting members “seemed to be very receptive to it.” While recognizing that it was a painstaking process coming up with the TDA’s original composition formula — trying to ensure that there was fair representation from across the tourism spectrum — the chairman said that cutting seats from the board now “makes sense.”

“We’ve come a long way in regards to the organization of the organization,” Jumper said. “This is just a next step. The next step is the fine tuning.”

 

 

Current Composition

The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority may be downsizing in 2015. The board currently has 15 voting members, but Chairman Robert Jumper has informed county officials that nine members may suit the body better. 

When originally forming Jackson’s tourism board, composition was much discussed and purposeful. Seats were allotted to allow for adequate representation throughout Jackson’s community of tourism stakeholders. 

Currently, the Jackson TDA is comprised of members hailing from five groups, each representing a different faction of tourism interests. All members must be approved by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

• Group One: Five members from lodging properties in South Jackson, including three members from properties with 25 or more rooms, one member from a bed and breakfast with 25 rooms or less and one member from a rental, condo or timeshare.

• Group Two: Five members from lodging properties in North Jackson, including three members from properties with 25 or more rooms, one member from a bed and breakfast with 25 rooms or less and one member from a rental, condo or timeshare.

• Group Three: Three members from retail, tourism-centric businesses, with one member from South Jackson, one from North Jackson and one Jackson County at-large member.

• Group Four: One representative from the Cashiers Chamber of Commerce. The executive director of the Cashiers chamber also serves in an ex officio capacity.

• Group Five: One representative from the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. The executive director of the Jackson chamber also serves in an ex officio capacity.

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.