It hardly seems possible, but here we are, one week into 2019. The last several weeks have been a blur of work, family, and friends; gifts, books, movies, games, and skiing; planning, relaxation, and reflection. It’s been wonderful, and we’re ready for all that 2019 has to offer.
I’m so inspired by the incredible work our organization and our team have accomplished in the last year together. 2018 was a year of big projects, new opportunities, and significant accomplishments. Our building saw its first major updates since the big addition in 2000, and those investments continue thanks to the donations of many large and small donors to our “Finish It/Furnish It” campaign. We completed a new three-year strategic plan, the first to detail our goals for both the Chamber & Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In 2018, the Chamber team continued to sustain our membership base and brought 70 new members to our organization. Our annual offerings including networking events, programs, professional development workshops, supportive committees and roundtable discussions. All of these efforts proved to increase our total number of engaged members, and the people from those organizations who engage with us regularly. We focused a lot of energy on the Live in Ithaca Project—to launch very soon—and are very proud of the fruits of that labor. We can’t wait to share it with the broader membership, and support you in your efforts to recruit, retain, and sustain your workforce in Tompkins County. Our long term advocacy efforts helped garner a major infrastructure investment from New York State in the Ithaca/Tompkins Regional Airport and the move of the NYS DOT site this year. All of this, of course, with your support and encouragement.
On the Convention & Visitors Bureau side of our world, we continued to increase the number of visitors served at our three visitor centers; our retail sales of “Gorges Gear” far exceeded our expectations and spread the “Ithaca is Gorges” brand far across the globe; our sales department continued to attract new groups, weddings, meetings and conferences to our market, as well as advocate for the development of a new conference center in Downtown Ithaca; and our marketing team continued to expand our audience and promote our tourism assets through social media, growing the Visit Ithaca website traffic, and in our target markets. Our work to support the Tompkins County Tourism Program included expanding our promotion of agriculinary tourism, supporting the work of the outdoor recreation tourism committee, and getting the updated Visitor Profile Study launched and in full swing.
We look forward to another fantastic year in 2019. There’s so much opportunity and good work awaiting all of us.
What are your goals for 2019? How will you work to set yourself, your business, your organization apart this year? And, more importantly—how can we help? Whether you’re hoping to grow or expand, to increase your services and impact in the community, to see more visitors than ever before, or to pass your business on to a family member or new owner—your Chamber and CVB are here to support you. Cheers to a fantastic year!