By Melanie Hinton, vice president of Communications & Marketing, ABA
I received an interesting email today from a member - Chris Rackmyre, CTIS with The Maine Tour Connection in South Portland, Maine - about how a popular tourist destination was on hard luck and ready to make the difficult decision to close their doors until they learned there may be help in sight.
Chris was working with fellow ABA member Cam Morris from Hale Transportation in Clinton, N.Y., helping her plan a group trip up to Maine. One of the places Cam wanted to take her group to is the Washburn Norlands Historical Center. When Chris called about scheduling the group for a tour, she was told they were in the midst of making a difficult decision about the future of the Center. Chris asked them if they had reached out to the Maine Office of Tourism (MOT) and inquired about their grant programs. Not only had the Center NOT reached out, they weren't even aware of the MOT's programs. Hats off to Chris about bringing up this option!
It turns out that the MOT was about to launch a new grant program so Chris told Center to reach out and find out more information about it to see if they would qualify. The good news was that the timing was perfect as there was a webinar about to be held on the program and the Center was able to participate and found out it qualified for the program. Fast forward to the end of the grant season and the Center received a grant that will help them stay open for limited events, summer tourism and fall student programs.
While they may be far from their financial goals, this is a good start to get them back up and running to have a chance to continue educating people about the life in rural Maine.
While this story has a happy ending, we all know someone who was not so fortunate as the Center to have a Chris come into their life at just the right moment to educate them about how local and state tourism offices can help their business. While not every office of tourism has the right grant at the right time, they are available to all tourism destinations in the state for advice and education.
If you have never reached out to your state tourism office, now is as good as time as any to meet them and learn how they can be a valuable partner to you.
Do you have a story to share? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!