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Chamber of Commerce to Manage Schoharie County Tourism

Written By Editor on 4/21/14 | 4/21/14

After listening to two detailed presentations on the future of tourism in Schoharie County, the Board of Supervisors were in agreement on Friday morning that the function should be privatized and removed from the county government apparatus in favor of the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce, which previously had administered the county's tourism program from 1998-2009.

With over one hundred local businesses in support of their proposal, the Chamber's pitch called for the creation of a full-time tourism coordinator, which the county currently lacks, in conjunction with a chamber tourism board that would focus on planning and maintaining fiscal responsibility. The occupancy tax board would also be utilized to provide further financial oversight. 

Additionally, Scott Ferguson of the Chamber frowned upon the county's current visitors center. When asked for the chamber's position on it by Jefferson Town Supervisor Sean Jordan, Mr. Ferguson dismissed it as a "green garden shed," adding that the chamber plans to see the office relocated to fill a "vacant storefront in one of our communities." 

Following up on the Chamber's presentation was Cathleen Berry, publisher of the Seasons of Schoharie County tourism magazine, who suggested the creation of two niche festivals to draw in younger tourists and families to come visit the area. Ms. Berry also agreed that the visitors center needed to be relocated, suggesting the vacant pharmacy in Schoharie as a possible brick and mortar location. 

In the end both proposals encouraged the county board that privatization was the right path, which they agreed to unanimously. However, there was hesitation by some members to exclude Ms. Berry, who left after her presentation, in favor of the Chamber and requested that she be involved in the process. 

The Chamber of Commerce will assume all county tourism responsibilities on July 1, 2014.

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