Danville Hires More Economic Development and Tourism Staff to Handle Increased Workload | Local business news
The Danville Economic and Tourism Development office is hiring more staff to meet an increased workload due to more industry demands and the addition of the regional tourism program.
“Due to increased prospect activity and the addition of a regional tourism program within our office, new positions were required to best support activity within our community,” Danville Director of Economic Development and Tourism, Corrie T. Bobe, told the Danville Register & Bee.
For example, there have been more inquiries from industries about the Southern Virginia megasite at Berry Hill this year and in recent years than in previous years, City Manager Ken Larking said.
There have been 14 site visits to the mega park in 2021 and there have been 10 so far in 2022. In 2020 and before, the number of annual site visits was in the single digits, Larking said.
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“We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of prospects looking at our area,” he said. “In order to provide prospects with the best information…it was necessary to have more people to meet the demand.”
City officials are currently trying to fill two new positions in the economic and tourism development office: a tourism sales coordinator and a marketing coordinator.
“Additional capacity is being added to our marketing team, which works directly with the office’s business development and tourism divisions,” Bobe said.
Additionally, a visitor center manager may be hired in the future, depending on the revenue generated by the city, Larking said. There is currently no funding for the position.
The three new positions were allocated in the 2022-23 budget during the budget process earlier this year.
The Tourism Sales Coordinator will be responsible for supporting the sales, marketing and administrative efforts of the Economic Development and Tourism Office. The annual salary range for this position is $34,085 minimum, $44,310 mid-range, and $54,536 maximum.
The Marketing Coordinator will assist in promoting and marketing the Danville and Pittsylvania County area to travelers and the business community. The pay scale for the position is the same as that of the Tourism Sales Coordinator.
The reception center manager, if hired, would be paid $36,864 to $47,923 to $58,982 per year.
Current positions within the Office of Economic Development and Tourism also include: Director of Economic Development and Tourism; Deputy Director of Economic Development and Tourism; Project Manager; special projects manager; marketing and research manager; tourism manager; and part-time travel counselors at the Danville Visitor Center.
The operating budget for economic development, tourism and the visitor center is about $1.5 million, not including facility maintenance, merchandise and incentives, Bobe said.
The city is also looking to hire an assistant director of economic development, a position that remained vacant on Friday. Barbara Fiedor, who had held the position for about a year, is no longer employed by the city, Larking said.
Danville just established its tourism division last year and hired a new tourism manager about a year ago. The city previously had a tourism program as part of parks and recreation, but it was dismantled about a decade ago.
“We are building our tourism staff to better support the new program which is led by our director of tourism,” Bobe said. “Our office now oversees the operation of the Danville Visitor Center and we are bolstering our staff of part-time travel advisors to increase our ability to serve people visiting the area.
Danville is the destination marketing organization for Danville and Pittsylvania County.
With Caesars Virginia Casino scheduled to open in 2024, the city is expected to welcome 2 million visitors per year.
“We expect millions of people to come to the station each year,” Larking said. “We want to have a strong tourism marketing program.”
When it comes to business prospects expressing interest in Danville and the rest of the area, “momentum continues to build throughout Southern Virginia and the level of interest from prospects has increased significantly over the past two years,” Bobe said.
The mission of the economic and tourism development office is to improve the economic health and quality of life of the town of Danville by creating and maintaining jobs, creating local wealth and increasing the tax base. , Bobe said.
Staff in the office oversee various projects, which means every day is unique, she said. The economic development and tourism team is working extended hours well beyond the conventional length of weekdays, Larking said.
“I have seen firsthand that they work long hours, often evenings and weekends, to ensure that people considering investing in our area have the information they need to make a decision,” Larking said. .
Given the time sensitivity of most economic development projects, staff are working the hours necessary to meet the required deadlines, Bobe said.
“We are fortunate to have a strong team working together to fulfill our department’s mission,” Bobe said. “They are able to balance multiple projects at once and provide high quality material and information to businesses and potential visitors.”