Twenty-two members selected to serve on special committee of Dare County Tourism Board

Published 7:43 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2024

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At its November meeting, the Dare County Tourism Board reviewed recommendations for appointment to the Outer Banks Long-Range Tourism Management Plan (LRTMP) Special Committee/Task Force and unanimously approved the selection of 22 community members to this group. The intent of this committee is to evaluate the strategic goals outlined in the LRTMP, make recommendations to the Dare County Tourism Board for action and further implement adopted recommendations.

“The individuals in this group represent a mix of local leaders, professionals across industries and interests, and concerned residents. We’re all affected by tourism and all committed to directing its impacts more positively in our community,” states Lee Nettles, executive director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. “This is an exciting time as we take this next step to move the plan forward.” The first generation of this task force was formed to facilitate the creation of the LRTMP, which was published in May 2023 following an extensive 18-month process that incorporated feedback from local residents, community stakeholders and non-resident property owners.

The group helped identify opportunities and challenges for the Outer Banks as both a travel destination for visitors and sustainable community for residents to live, work and play in Dare County. Many of the individuals who served on the original group have agreed to press forward and serve on the newly formed special committee. To complement input from standing committee members, Dare County residents and non-resident property owners were encouraged to apply for a select number of resident seats on this task force, with over 100 applications submitted for consideration in less than one week.

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Appointed members of the committee include:

Attraction – Mike Remige, director, Jennette’s Pier

Dare County Board of Commissioners/County Government – Bobby Outten, county manager, Dare County

Dare County Tourism Board/Outer Banks Visitors Bureau – Dennis Robinson, Dare County Tourism Board Personnel Committee chair, Hatteras Island member at large, chief technology officer, Midgett Realty; Lee Nettles, executive director, Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

Education – Dr. Shannon Castillo, CTE director, Dare County Schools; Tim Sweeney, dean, College of the Albemarle – Dare Campus

Environmental Agency or Group – Dr. Reide Corbett, executive director, Coastal Studies Institute

Hatteras Island Business – Natalie Kavanagh, Frisco Rod & Gun

Healthcare – Ronnie Sloan, president, Outer Banks Health

Infrastructure (Housing/Transportation) – Donna Creef, government affairs director, Outer Banks Association of Realtors

Lodging Business – Tim Cafferty, president, Outer Banks Blue Realty Services; Jamie Chisholm, director of sales, Hilton Garden Inn – Kitty Hawk

Municipality – Elizabeth Morey, mayor, Town of Southern Shores

National Park Service – David Hallac, Superintendent, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina

Non-Profit Organization – Jessica Barnes, director, Outer Banks Forever; Chris Sawin, president and CEO, Outer Banks Community Foundation

Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce – Karen Brown, president and CEO, Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce

Residents – Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy (Rodanthe), staff writer, The Coastland Times; Chris Vlahos (non-resident property owner, Kitty Hawk), owner, Barefoot Bernie’s Tropical Grill & Bar; Nick Graham (Nags Head), insurance producer, Standard Insurance & Realty; Augusta Feldmann (Rodanthe), forensic healthcare consultant, KPMG

Restaurant Business – Mark Ballog, owner, Lucky 12 Tavern

“I am excited for the next phase of the Long-Range Tourism Management Plan and look forward to working with this committee to impact positive change for our locals and visitors,” notes Dennis Robinson, who was appointed as the chair of this special committee and also serves as the Dare County Tourism Board’s Personnel Committee chair and Hatteras Island member at large, as well as chief technology officer at Midgett Realty. “It is a great responsibility to be able to help shape the sustainable growth of tourism in Dare County. This will not only require tremendous thought leadership and vision from this group, but the involvement of the entire community to be successful.”

To address the response to resident and non-resident property owner applications, the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau will also continue to solicit involvement from local stakeholders.

“Such a response inspired us to think about ways in which the full list of applicants, and the broader community, can remain connected to and involved with the implementation of the LRTMP,” adds Nettles. “It reflects the high level of passion and engagement that exists for the Outer Banks and the collective desire to help make an impact on our way of life here, both now and in the future.”

Initial ideas include keeping this group informed with regular progress updates, creating feedback loops so ideas and constructive input can be shared, providing access to educational experiences with industry experts and receiving invitations to attend in-person LRTMP events throughout the year. In addition, Dare County organizations or associations who are interested in the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau attending an upcoming meeting to discuss the LRTMP in greater detail are encouraged to reach out to Jeff Schwartzenberg, community engagement manager, at or 252-473-7155.