Tourism is the No. 2 industry in our county, only behind agriculture, and according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Travel Association, we have not come close to maximizing our potential for additional tourism in our community.
According to a travel association report, our county receives a little over $30 in tax revenue for every $1 we spend in the county to promote tourism. Unlike other forms of economic development, increased tourism doesn't require expensive new infrastructure like new water facilities or new schools.
One of the candidates for the Board of Supervisors this year has spent a lifetime in tourism. Coe Sherrard was the lead executive in the development of Spirit Cruises, placing 13 dinner cruise ships in 12 different cities across the country. He then was responsible for opening a major tourist attraction in Branson, Missouri, before being transferred to Tennessee as general manager of the Dollywood Theme Park, where he worked for international celebrity Dolly Parton. He finished his career with the Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. as vice president of development.
He is also a veteran having served in the Navy as a pilot for over 20 years.
He and his wife Jean came to Shenandoah County in 2005 and opened the Woodstock Café. Since arriving in Shenandoah County, Coe has served on the Shenandoah County Tourism Council and on the Board of Directors for the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce (prior to its merger with the Shenandoah County Chamber). We are very fortunate to have someone with his background and experience that wants to represent our district. I hope Shenandoah County will continue to benefit from his significant tourism and business experience.
Keith Stephens, Fort Valley