By SARAH PLUMMER
BECKLEY, W.Va. — The Historic Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau will greet 2017 with a number of changes as it moves forward with a restructuring, said Adam Stephens, president of the board of directors.
The Fayetteville Welcome Center on Court Street has been temporarily closed and a part-time employee has been let go “in an effort to save money while we are uncertain of the future,” he explained.
The Court Street building is owned by the CVB and the property had been leased for $100 a year.
That lease expired earlier this month and the CVB negotiated and signed a six-month lease for $350 a month.
Earlier this year the board was working on a lease negotiations as well as considering the option of moving the welcome center.
“The board will meet to discus the future of the welcome center, and we will see some restructuring as we figure out what we can afford in the future,” he explained. “We will likely see more board of directors stepping up as volunteers to take over managerial tasks.”
As part of the restructuring, CVB Executive Director Sally Kiner will step down in the coming months as a cost-saving measure.
Stephens stressed that the CVB, as a marketing entity, is still very much up and running.
“The welcome center was an added bonus for us, but the core of the CVB is to market Fayetteville and bring visitors here — to put heads in beds. The welcome center was an additional bonus to helped provide visitors who are already here with the best possible experience,” he explained. “We want to reopen the welcome center, but we have to figure out how to reopen with our new financial obligations.”
Although many plans still need to be hashed out after the holiday season, Stephens said he sees the CVB relying much more heavily on volunteer support.
According to the Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau 2015 annual report, total hotel/motel tax for Fayetteville has decreased from $49,389 in 2013 to $44,507 in 2015. Of that, $20,696 was spent directly on marketing and advertising.
In 2011 there were 1,872 walk-in visits to the welcome center. That number increased to 4,024 in 2013 and was 3,221 in 2014.
In 2015, Fayetteville had visitors from 40 states and 12 counties, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa and Spain.
According to the West Virginia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, tourism sustains 750 jobs in Fayette County, has a $75.4 million impact and raises $5.54 million in tax revenue for the county.
There are two CVBs in Fayette County, Fayetteville CVB and the New River Gorge CVB.
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