As we begin 2016, it's time for a change at the Albany Chamber of Commerce.
We need a stand-alone Convention and Visitors Bureau, taken from under the management of the Chamber.
In a survey of other Georgia cities, the majority of Georgia cities do have a stand-alone CVB.
Our major city competitors for regional tourism have a stand-alone CVB such as: Columbus, Macon, Valdosta, Thomasville, Tifton and Americus.
Our tourism direction, growth and development cannot be a part time job of the Chamber.
The Chamber will say tourism is growing each year, but we should be saying, independent and with more resources, it could be much better!
From my decade serving on the Chamber board, I believe we are at the same crossroads, when we decided that economic development was so important, it needed its own full time manager, instead of being directed by the Chamber President.
Our main question should be: Did we make a mistake moving the EDC from under the management of the Chamber?
If the answer is no, then let's duplicate that success story with an independent Convention & Visitors Bureau.
I hope we all agree tourism is so important we should be pushing to double or even triple those working at the CVB to help grow this crucial industry.
An aggressive Convention & Visitors Bureau needs to have its own strong and independent voice.