Saying that they want more accountability and re-assurances that Lincoln City is getting the most bang for their tourism promotion buck, the city council Monday night got their glimpse of what that might look like. Visitors and Convention Bureau Chief Sandy Pfaff and VCB Committee member Diane Kusz told the council that rather than promoting a large number of special events, the VCB is recommending that they preserve only proven winners, like “Finders Keepers,” “Kite Festival,” “Cook-Offs,” and “4th of July Fireworks.” Pfaff said they’ll continue to be primary sponsors for these events, but at the same time, if other groups or non-profits want to step forward and continue supporting other events, like “Antique Week” or have ideas for new ones the VCB will do what it can to advise and to help as long as it doesn’t substantially impact the VCB budget. However, City Manager David Hawker chimed in that if a hot new idea crosses the city’s desk, “We’ll find a way to help it along. We’ve always got minor start up resources for that,” he said.
Pfaff said the VCB will put more energy into social networking like Facebook and Twitter along with other electronic marketing. She said that Glass, Kites and Culinary should remain Lincoln City’s blended brand of tourism. Councilor Roger Sprague said he wants the VCB to ensure that the 4th of July Fireworks is a sure thing from here on. “I don’t want to be wondering whether we’re going to have fireworks year to year. If we’re doing to have ’em, let’s have ’em. We need to make a commitment.” Pfaff said “It’s not my call, it’s entirely up to you guys (city council).”
Mayor Dick Anderson said he would like to see VCB staff put some money aside for a healthy reserve fund to give the VCB more flexibility in planning and promoting events. Maybe work with larger corporate sponsors on bigger ideas. Anderson also said he would like to see the VCB’s advisory committee make quarterly reports to the city council – give the council some updates on how things are going and what new opportunities there might be out there. Advisory Committee member Diane Kusz said they would do their best.
The VCB’s budget for next fiscal year is included in the city’s overall budget plan for 2012-13. The VCB and all other city departments will be discussed and debated between the city council and the council’s citizens advisory budget committee. They are meeting jointly over the next few weeks.
So more focus, sticking with proven tourist draws, helping others promote and run middle tier events…the new approach for the Lincoln City Visitors and Convention Bureau.