Public input sought on tourism marketing plan

February 19, 2014

Kevin Spradlin

The TDA wants you!

The Richmond County Tourism Development Authority is hoping for an active, engaged audience comprised of members of the general public for a general focus group meeting.

The meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Rockingham City Hall, is intended to solicit input and ideas as the TDA considers how to best market the county’s attractions. The session is part of a third task, on a 10-task list after which tourism officials expect to be able to create a message and marketing plan to promote Richmond County’s attractions.

The TDA is working with Arnett Muldrow and Associates, based in Greenville, S.C. Representatives of that firm first came to Richmond County in November to conduct interviews with members of the Richmond County TDA Steering Committee — those involved with attracting visitors — including the Rockingham Dragway, museums in Ellerbe and Hamlet and Discovery Place KIDS in downtown Rockingham, among others. The TDA has contracted with Arnett Muldrow and Associates in the amount of about $26,790.

Miranda Chavis, manager of the Hamlet Depot and Museums and downtown coordinator for the city of Hamlet, said the county has plenty to offer visitors and residents alike.

“There’s a lot to take pride in,” Chavis said. “I think sometimes we forget that, as locals. Sometimes it’s as much about self-identity and self-awareness as it is about outside awareness.”

Chavis said she’s hopeful the research the firm is doing now will help “give us a cohesive, unifying brand that highlights all of our attributes” — but flexible enough to be used by independent attractions as well.

“You can’t market something you don’t know about,” Chavis said, adding the research will aid in showing “how we see ourselves and how we’d like for others to see us.”

The TDA is governed by a seven-member board, with four members appointed by the Richmond County Commissioners, two by Rockingham City Council and one from the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce. Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump, city planner John Massey and Kim Williams, events coordinato, serve as the non-paid interim staff of the TDA, per an agreement between the city and TDA, until the TDA approves and implements a new staff/support structure.

The TDA is fully funded by hotel/motel tax revenue and operates on an annual budget of approximately $225,000.

For more information on the focus group meeting, contact Williams or Massey by phone at 910-997-5547 or by email at or