Summer tourist season off to a great start |

Summer tourist season off to a great start

During National Tourism Week, the chambers marketing team put on a celebration to beat the band. In fact, Explore Glenwood, our unique customer service training program, made the Travel Industry Association of Americas Hot List of creative activities that demonstrate the importance of tourism. Nearly 100 front line staff participated in hospitality training, a local tourism scavenger hunt and visits to local activities and attractions. More than 100 chamber members also attended a special Business After Hours mixer featuring A Taste of Glenwood provided by local restaurants and a tourism trade show.

Meanwhile, back at the office, workers from Permanent Builders were busy tearing down the old rock wall in front of the visitor center and replacing it with an impressive new structure. The wall will be officially dedicated to Shirley Schiesser, a longtime chamber board member and past board chair.I am privileged to have served under Shirleys leadership. She was named Volunteer of the Year in 1989 for chairing a building expansion project that doubled the size of our tiny A-frame building. I fondly remember Shirley in her hard hat, supervising construction workers whom she had cajoled into donating services.She was food booth chair for Strawberry Days for several years running, and while serving on City Council she donned her hard hat again to help construct the pedestrian mall in 1997. Now Shirley is suffering from Alzheimers disease, but on one of her last visits to Glenwood Springs, she stopped in to give us all a hug and reminisce about the good old days. Like the pillars of our new brick wall, she was a pillar of the chamber and community, and we miss her. Her husband Carl remembered that Shirley always had wanted to replace the chamber wall, so this loving memory of her was his idea. We cannot thank them enough.Look for a dedication of the new wall later this summer.

After 9/11, chambers of commerce across the nation asked the U.S. Chamber for an initiative to support the critical economic tourism sector. One out of eight people in our countrys labor force is employed directly or indirectly in travel and tourism, an industry creating billions of dollars in tax revenue and economic development.The U.S. Chamber has launched a major initiative to work with Congress to create legislation that promotes travel. Glenwood businesses are invited to join Travel and Tourism Across America by calling (202) 463-5500. The U.S. Chamber will then e-mail you regarding tourism issues and put you in touch with your legislators.Marianne Virgili, CCE, is president and CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

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