~ Pulaski County to Strategically Redirect Funds to Increase County Revenues and Better Serve and Support Pulaski County’s Tourism Businesses ~
The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors is working in concert with the Pulaski County Economic Development Authority to repurpose funds and strategically invest in the development and launch of Pulaski County’s first Tourism Department. The new County department will come at a time where tourism businesses are finding themselves in both a challenging yet opportunistic time due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism department will be funded through transient occupancy tax revenues. Forty percent (40%) of all lodging taxes received by the County are required by code to be reinvested back into local tourism, and it has been determined that this new office is a qualified investment.
“We have identified tourism as an important component of the County’s overall revenue and critical to the stability and success of many of our community’s small businesses”, stated Joe Guthrie, Chair, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. “We have also realized as an outcome of the pandemic, that to expansively bolster tourism, we need to market our many commercial, retail, and lodging assets to both potential visitors and our local residents in order to ensure that the small business community is best positioned to take full advantage of the ever evolving consumer demand opportunities.”
In the recent past, the County has relied on the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce to serve as the County’s tourism agent by way of an annual service contract. Although the Chamber of Commerce has done an great job of serving the county’s tourism needs, the County is looking to invest in its own tourism department to maximize its resources and ensure that Pulaski County and its small business community is well represented and has a competitive advantage in the regional, state and national marketplace.
“We feel that we can provide enhanced support for the tourism sector and increase offerings to our small business community by establishing a more robust tourism, marketing and quality of life program that is managed as fully functioning department of the County”, stated Jonathan D. Sweet, County Administrator. “This redirection of funds should yield a greater rate of return for both our private enterprises and the County’s coffers, and it couldn’t come at a more crucial time when revenue stability is important to our collective subsistence.”
The County is preparing to officially launch the Pulaski County Office of Tourism on January 4, 2021 and will be advertising for an executive director throughout the month of November 2020. Most counties, cities and towns in Virginia have their own established and funded tourism departments dedicated to their locality.
“The Economic Development Authority is excited to be a part of advancing this concept, as it falls under the umbrella of the EDA’s more comprehensive mission of supporting our small business community and pursuing non-traditional ways of fostering economic prosperity for our citizens”, stated Jon Wyatt, Chair, Pulaski County EDA. “There is a quantifiable return on investment to marketing and promoting our county and the businesses who call it home, and we are confident that this endeavor will prove meaningful to growing our small businesses and will help the county reach our stated goal of 40 -by- 30.”