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No conflict to report here

Frank Johnson

We all know the media love a good controversy. From the Swift Boat Veterans to Olympic gymnastic judging, the media always focus in on a good fight.However, when it comes to the various chambers of commerce and business associations in the valley, there is no real controversy to cover. Sure, our little valley has a profusion of organizations that represent local businesses, but each group serves an important purpose. Sure, us chamber folks dont always agree on the best ways to serve the business community, but we all have our constituents best interests at heart.In a recent article (Vail ponders ways for self promotion 8/24) Vail Daily writer Allen Best pitted two of the valleys business groups against one another in a request for town of Vail funding. While the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau (VVCTB) and the Vail Business & Chamber Association (VCBA) have not always seen eye to eye, this was not a case of dueling chambers.As part of the town of Vails business cycle, all requests for public funding were required to be submitted in early August. To their credit, this year the towns staff and council members asked for more evidence of a return on their investments. Accordingly, both the VVCTB and the VCBA submitted proposals to fund projects and initiatives they each believed would best serve the Vail community.The VVCTB requested funding for two programs. First with all the construction that the town, Vail Resorts and private developers have planned for the next few years in Vail, the VVCTB proposed to coordinate a communications plan among all the parties involved. Our goal is to send cohesive, consistent messages about Vails revitalization to locals, businesses and visitors alike. Second, the VVCTB asked for support of a comprehensive year-round research program, one that would give us a better understanding of Vails group and individual visitor demographics, their travel patterns and their economic impact on the community. This information would be used to create more effective marketing programs for Vail and develop a comprehensive research resource for the entire community to use. The VVCTB believes these are programs that will deliver a tangible benefit to the Vail community. We also know that we have the expertise and the experience to execute these programs and deliver a return on the towns investment. The VCBA has also submitted a proposal and funding request to execute programs they believe will be equally to the community. However, these different proposals from different chambers do not make us sworn enemies. In fact, the VVCTB works hard to make sure all of the communitys various chambers and business group work together in the spirit of collaboration.Over the years, the valley has seen the birth of numerous other business groups and associations, each representing a core commercial area or specific type of business. Today, in addition to the VVCTB and the VCBA, the valley is home to the Minturn Business Association, the Avon Business Association, the Beaver Creek Merchants Association, the Edwards Business Association, the Vail Valley Restaurant Association, and the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce. And while the media sometimes likes to portray these groups as competitors, the fact is that we have worked hard to create a collaborative dialogue among them. Every local business group has a seat on the VVCTB board of directors where we facilitate regular, meaningful discussion about regional issues and opportunities for cooperation. In some cases, the VVCTB has been contracted to help organize and administer these individual business groups. As an organization, the VVCTB believes theres a need for local business groups that can look out for the interests of their own commercial area first and foremost. In some cases we feel the VVCTB has the staff resources and is best suited to execute programs for a specific group our contracts to administer the Vail Local Marketing Districts programs and implement Beaver Creeks group sales efforts are good examples. However, we are the valleys only regional business group and we always strive to represent the interests of the entire Vail Valley business community. Despite the arbitrary boundaries of separate towns and commercial centers, we are working to bring the valley closer together leveraging the strength of our approximate 1,000 business members to make sure the voice of the business community is heard. So, while there are those who believe that a mythical one organization should emerge that can do everything for everybody, our approach at the VVCTB will remain to serve the best interests of the widest group of businesses, while working closely with the Valleys other organizations which are dedicated to a more narrow focus.Frank Johnson is the executive director of the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau.Vail, Colorado


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