What is a CVB?
The tourism industry tends to throw out abbreviations, almost as if it were a second language. Our own name is usually part of this dialogue.
The role of the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau – your so-called local “CVB” – is sometimes unknown, mainly because much of its work takes place elsewhere.
Perhaps the most notable work of the bureau in the community takes place in visitor information centers, places where travelers can ask questions, find out where to stay or eat, what to do, etc. But much of the Gettysburg CVB’s work takes place before these travelers arrive in Adams County.
Our main task is to attract these visitors here. We use community assets – attractions, restaurants, hotels, history – as an incentive. Without them, travelers would have no reason to travel.
We at CVB have a team that tackles this mission from different angles. We have a person who does marketing for groups. We have someone – me – who works with the media to create positive stories about the Gettysburg area. One of our team members specializes in advertising the right audience. And we have members of our team working in all three areas to help reach visitors. In essence, we are all marketers here at CVB.
And while Gettysburg and Adams County are primarily a holiday destination – attracting couples and families, we are a growing venue for meetings and conferences. Our staff through many outlets cooperate with meeting organizers to hold conferences of all sizes here.
And, as I mentioned, we have three information centers for visitors. These centers and their staff work with visitors to make their trips enjoyable. If they have a great time, they are likely to return and spend even more time in the Gettysburg area. Also, our information staff can give them a reason to extend their stay.
CVB’s efforts are supported by its 260-member contributions and overnight accommodation tax. We are a self-sustaining industry that is by no means dependent on funding from local tax resources. The more we work, the more people visit and the more money we pay in residence taxes. These taxes – 25 percent of which are initially given to Adams County to cover tourism-related expenses – are returned to our budget to attract more visitors.
So what is the important thing in attracting visitors? We are engaged in economic development. Simply put, tourism is money. These are also jobs and tax revenues. Tourism is the leading industry in Adams County, accounting for $ 381 million in spending, $ 104 million in state and local tax revenues and 5,800 jobs.
Like other counties that depend on other industries, Adams County relies on tourism to support the livelihoods of many residents. That’s why we’re here.
As you can see, our role is vital – although sometimes it is not realized directly in the local community. As with any organization or company, marketing is critical to success. We are lucky to have such a great “product” for sale here in Adams County, and tourism itself is an industry worth appreciating.
Carl Whitehill is a media relations manager at the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau.