In response to The Apalachicola Times’ article "Squabbles erupt over TDC seat,” in the Oct. 24 edition, I would like to clarify the meaning behind the portions quoted and further share my thoughts. I feel the finer points of an important dialogue that took place deserve to be addressed. I was in attendance and feel a healthy, productive discussion occurred between area hotel and small lodging owners, stakeholders and Tourist Development Council members.
Lynn Spohrer correctly characterized the issue. There is a disconnect between audience members (hotel and small lodging owners, stakeholders) and the TDC council members. Some audience members feel that they do not have a way to constructively participate in the TDC marketing decisions. TDC members feel like their meetings are all public and decisions are open.
Due to no one's fault, the current meeting process seems to put audience members at a disadvantage and creates a defensiveness in part because the agenda is not provided in advance. In the process of an ongoing meeting, comments or questions may be viewed as an interruption rather than an attempt to provide constructive input. Maybe one solution is to have an overall marketing planning meeting that includes bed tax collectors, the chambers and visitors centers, the people on the front lines.
Overall, I do believe that this discussion is a great step toward finding a way to put the best ideas forward for the best interest of our county as a whole. A collaboration of the intellect and decades of experience marketing this area offered by the hotel and small lodging owners, beach homes rental companies, chambers of commerce and business owners would be positive and unbeatable.