Dare Tourism Board developing long term goals

Published 8:17 am Sunday, February 27, 2022

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The February 17 Dare County Tourism Board meeting opened with W. Jay Wheless, legal counsel for the board, introducing attorney Tyler D. McKeithan as a new member of the Wheless law firm.

Wheless explained that McKeithan, who had transitioned from the business world into the legal field, may sit in on board meetings for Wheless on occasion.

McKeithan is a graduate of Appalachian State University and North Carolina Central University School of Law.

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Board chair Tim Cafferty also took a moment to inform voard members that he had just received word that Gail Halvorsen – known as the Candy Bomber and famous for delivering chocolates and gum to children in West Berlin during the Cold War Berlin Airlift – had passed away.

Halvorsen died last Wednesday at the age of 101.

Taking up the regular business for the day, the January meeting minutes were approved followed by an comment from Cafferty that he and Outer Banks Visitors Bureau executive director Lee Nettles will be making a stewardship tour of visits to several other agencies and groups to provide Tourism Board updates to various partners in the county.

Cafferty went on to say the board’s Steering Committee will begin developing some long term goals and it might be appropriate to hire an organization to help the board visualize what the Outer Banks might look like at some distant future dates.

“I think part of what we are trying to do is develop a shared set of values,” said Nettles. “We want to identify what is important for those that live here and also for visitors to the Outer Banks. Not only the things we love and appreciate, but to recognize and preserve the experiences that make the Outer Banks so unique.”

It was mentioned in the discussion that followed that not only would community involvement be important, but that any RFP should focus on finding a firm that specializes in tourism-related activities.

Commenting that the process is similar to one the Town of Duck underwent not long ago, Vice Chair Monica Thibodeau added that it is a valuable process and while tourism affects everyone on the Outer Banks, there is more here than just tourism.

Although many were in favor of the action, some did advise that the scope should not be too broad nor should there be a plan with no specific action.

Moving on to the monthly financial report, treasurer Ervin Bateman advised that January receipts from December meals and occupancy tax were up a total of $1,283,563 which translates to an 18.06 percent improvement over the prior fiscal year actuals. In addition, November retail collections were up 15.24 percent for the month for a total 32.54 percent improvement for the calendar year.

Bateman went on to say gross occupancy sales reported for December 2021 were 60.62 percent higher than the previous December and finished the year up 33.78 percent. December receipts also include $7.6 million in November sales with $3.3 million from property management agencies, $1.1 million from hotel/motel and $2.9 million through other rental properties.

In addition, gross meal sales reported for December were up 48.65 percent over the December 2020 numbers which allowed gross meal sales to finish the year up 51.11 percent.

A report of 2022 events scheduled for the Soundside Event Site in Nags Head include:

Outer Banks Bike Week: April 20-23
OBX Rod and Custom Festival: May 6 and 7
Dare2Care OBX Shred Fest: May 21
Soundside Fun Fair: June 9-12
HIS Generation Concert: June 15
Sumospeed Beach Bash: September 17
OBX Fall Bike Fest: 23 and 24
OBX Rod and Custom Fall Festival: September 30-October 1
OBX Jeep Invasion: October 7-9
Outer Banks Seafood Festival: October 15
Outer Banks Brewtag: October 22

The next Dare County Tourism Board meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 18 in the Curtis H. Creech Memorial Boardroom at Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Administrative Office building in Manteo.