Over 100 Dare County full-time and seasonal residents have applied for consideration to serve on a special committee for the Dare County Tourism Board to help with the implementation of the Outer Banks Long-Range Tourism Management Plan.
The intent of the panel is to evaluate the strategic goals in the Long-Range Tourism Management Plan, make recommendations to the Dare County Tourism Board for action and further implement adopted recommendations through the work of the Community Engagement Manager.
The Special Committee/Task Force was originally formed to facilitate the process of the LRTMP and includes local tourism economy representation in historic attractions, environmental expertise, housing and infrastructure, parks and preservation, lodging and municipal government to name a few.
The Dare County Tourism Board added seats on the Special Committee for Dare County residents and seasonal residents, also known as non-resident property owners, representation.
According to a report to be presented at the tourism board’s meeting on Thursday, 107 full-time and seasonal residents have submitted applications since September.
Communication with the applicants is planned for the coming weeks, naming of a chairperson and committee members is pending, and the panel’s meeting format and first date will be scheduled.
While the entire list of applicants won’t be able to serve on the committee, another idea has been spurred by the volume of interest.
According to the Tourism Board agenda, Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Community Engagement Manager Jeff Schwartzenberg will recommend creating an “ambassador” program for the Long-Range Tourism Management Plan.
This group would receive regular updates and communication regarding progress on the plan, be given opportunities to participate in-person and online educational sessions with industry experts “as we aim to provide Task Force members with valuable information to make informed recommendations and decisions”, serve as a resource to the Task Force to provide valuable input and feedback, and have the opportunity to attend LRTMP events like public meetings and town halls “as we cultivate future Task Force members from within this group”.
“Maintaining open and transparent communication with this group about the Task Force’s progress is essential,” according to Schwartzenberg. “It builds trust and encourages engagement as we advance the LRTMP forward.”
The Long-Range Tourism Management Plan was published in May 2023, following an 18-month process begun by the Dare County Tourism Board and executed by the staff of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and partners at MMGY NextFactor and Tourism Economics.
The comprehensive plan, which included creating a special task force and curating the input of hundreds of tourism community stakeholders and thousands of Dare County residents, provides a roadmap for the future to ensure that tourism preserves – and even benefits – the environment, culture and quality of life for residents while enhancing visitor experience.
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