Tourism Council names its executive director

Staff writer

The Tourism Council has tapped Vicki Cimino to be its new executive director and chief executive officer. Cimino’s first day at the head of the Tourism Council’s marketing office will be April 15.

After a five-month search, the Tourism Council voted unanimously to hire Cimino. As executive director, Cimino will report to the Tourism Council’s board and lead the marketing office that will utilize the Tourism Council’s budget to market the region to overnight tourists.

Cimino currently serves as the director of the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development, which is the state’s tourism marketing entity. With Cimino at the helm, the organization increased direct visitor spending by 4 percent and increased rooms and meals tax revenue by 15 percent in fiscal years 2015 to 2018, according to a Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance release announcing Cimino’s appointment Thursday. The Tourism Council is part of the alliance.

“With the creation of the (Tourism Council) by Senate Bill 942, bringing the right leadership is the most critical decision the Council will make,” council chairman Jeff Wassmer said in the release. “We have great confidence that Vicki will bring an impressive skill set that’s a great fit for our destination.”

Cimino began her tourism industry career as the communications manager for the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development. Cimino also has worked as the director of international marketing for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, as well as in the private sector at the New York City-based Redpoint Marketing PR and Connelly Partners in Boston, according to the release.

“She has a nice combination of private and public experience,” Tourism Council administrator Jody Puckett said.

Puckett said she will likely overlap with Cimino for two weeks or so to help the new hire acclimate to the job, but will leave her position soon after Cimino’s arrival. Puckett has acted as a temporary administrator for the Tourism Council since the departure of interim executive director Bob Harris in October.

Cimino will oversees a staff of eight people in the office of marketing and promotions and will manage the Tourism Council’s annual budget, the release states.

Created by SB 942 during the General Assembly’s 2018 session, the Tourism Council utilizes a 1-percent sales tax hike and the $2 transient occupancy tax to market Williamsburg, James City and York to overnight tourists. The Tourism Council’s 2019 marketing campaign budget is set at $8.5 million.

“I am thrilled to be stepping into this role, Cimino said in the release. “Tourism is critical to the region’s economic vitality and I look forward to achieving (the Tourism Council’s) goal of increased visitor spending throughout the area.”

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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