Wilson County Commission opts to defund tourism agency

Friday, September 14, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 37
By Joe Morris

The Wilson County Commission’s has voted to eliminate funding for its convention and visitors bureau.

Some commissioners said the $200,000 allotted to tourism could be trimmed without hurting visitor numbers, even though others countered tourism generates $100 million per year for the county.

In the end, Ricky Rodriguez, the CVB’s executive director, was unable to change any minds. He says he doesn’t believe that the area’s chambers will be able to pick up the slack.

“They don’t have the expertise we do,” he says. “This is a very competitive market.”

Other CVB officials decried the Wilson County decision.

“I think it’s very shortsighted on their part,” says Mona Herring, executive director of the Rutherford County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s never a good idea to eliminate something that generates revenue for your area.”

“I hope they rethink it,” says Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville CVB. “Most markets are looking to grow their share of what’s going on, and shifting tourism to the chamber will not help them do that.”