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Tourism Day at the State House Centers the Visitor Economy and Destination Stewardship
Following a pandemic hiatus, Tourism Day at the State House returned for the first time since 2020. Over 150 tourism and hospitality industry leaders were present throughout the day to engage with legislators and raise awareness of the collective contributions of these industries to the Vermont economy.
The day was centered on the Vermont visitor economy and destination stewardship and management. Business and policy leaders connected throughout the day during a coffee hour with Governor Scott, a joint hearing on the visitor economy with the House Commerce and Economic Development and the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee, and an evening reception.
Rep. Stephanie Jerome (Rutland-9), a stalwart supporter of the tourism industry, offered House Resolution, H.C.R.52. “The Vermont visitor economy is an incredible asset. It draws visitors to our towns, supports our local businesses, and is one of our largest employers. It generates tax revenues and creates jobs, it unlocks wide-ranging economic activity in both our rural and urban communities,” stated Rep. Jerome.
“The Vermont Chamber was proud to once again convene industry leaders for Tourism Day at the State House,” said Amy Spear, Vice President of Tourism for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. “The Vermont visitor economy is an incredible economic asset for Vermont. 13 million annual visitors contribute $3.2 billion in spending and support over 30,000 jobs, 10% of Vermont’s total workforce.”
Business leaders reflected on the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic and reinforced that collaboration is integral to the success of their businesses, and communities.
“We continue to find new ways to operate against the constant stresses of high labor and high food costs, a scarcity of applicants, continuing supply chain issues, and low margins. Even with these setbacks, many of us are optimistic,” stated Leslie McCrorey Wells of Pizzeria Veritas and Sotto Enoteca. “Like many of my restaurant peers, I feel a deep sense of commitment to the communities that surround and support our businesses, and I see the impact that our organizations and businesses have on the quality of life in Vermont.”
“Every part of our state was represented today because tourism is a vital economic driver that crosses many sectors,” stated Anna Rubin of Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium. “The Fairbanks Museum remains strong because of its connections with the community and recognizes that investments in our business have a wider impact on not only visitors but of the Northeast Kingdom at large.”
“The sense of community in Killington has become one of a kind. The resort and local businesses work together to speak with a unified voice and market the region together as a team,” stated Amy Laramie of Killington Resort and Pico Mountain. “I am grateful for the community in this industry and to be able to call a region where many people vacation, my home.”
Additional business leaders that testified in the joint hearing were Nick Bennette of Vermont Mountain Bike Association, Mimi Buttenheim of Mad River Distillers, Karen Nevin of Revitalizing Waterbury, and Kim Prins of Seesaws Lodge.
Industry leaders also testified in the House Agriculture Committee, including Tara Pereira of Vermont Fresh Network, David Keck of Stella Wines, Clara Ayer of Fairmont Farms, and Nick Managan of Cabot Creamery. Senate Education Committee received testimony from Molly Mahar of the Vermont Ski Areas Association and Jen Roberts of Onion River Outdoors.
The event was produced in partnership with several advocacy organizations, including Ski Vermont and the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce.
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