WOODSTOCK — Though National Tourism Week isn’t until May, the Shenandoah County Tourism Council is already beginning to think about ways to help communities engage with local businesses.

At its monthly meeting Tuesday inside the board room of the Shenandoah County Government Center, the tourism council discussed possible ideas for the annually celebrated event.

Typically, participating local businesses will offer some sort of discount on products, goods or services throughout the first week of May, according to Shenandoah County’s Director of Tourism and Economic Development Jenna French.

Those traditional promotions haven’t taken place the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but French said she was interested in the council’s thoughts on bringing those back and potentially any other ideas for the event.

Katie Mercer, who represents the town of Woodstock and serves as the council chair, said she’d like to see some ideas that are a little more “enticing” than they have been in years past.

“I know it’s hard to ask when we’re struggling, but how do we encourage or get it to be more enticing for people to actually want to go do it and make it worth their while?” Mercer said. “The return (would be) where you actually get someone who hasn’t done it before and doesn’t know what’s in their back yard. Word of mouth is powerful. It’s worth maybe sacrificing maybe a little bit of possible profits.”

Council member Bill Schumacher, who owns Fort Valley Ranch and serves as vice chair of the council, said he feels that differing industries and businesses will be impacted differently when it comes to giving discounts or free services.

The dialogue, though, was a good start to what will be an ongoing discussion, French said.

The agreed upon promotion ideas will need to be shored up in the coming months so they can be promoted around April before National Tourism Week.

If county residents have ideas on promotions they would like to see, French said they could contact the county tourism office.

Attending Tuesday’s tourism council meeting were Mercer, Schumacher, council members Lynn St. Claire, Meredith Norris, Eunice Terndrup, Barbara Adamson, Nandini Patel, Olivia Hilton and Jennifer Henson, tourism staff members Kary Haun and French, county chamber of commerce president Sharon Baroncelli, county schools representative Jessica Sager and local business owner Greg McCarley.

— Contact Matt Welch at mwelch@winchesterstar.com