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Posts Tagged ‘jonathan walker’

15th July
written by clothcutter

Top tourism award goes to Yuma Lettuce Days
Yuma Lettuce Days is now truly the cream of the crop.

The longtime Yuma event, transformed this year to reflect Yuma’s agricultural roots, was chosen as Arizona’s best special event for 2010-11 and honored with the Governor’s Tourism Award Thursday during a ceremony in Scottsdale.

Yuma Lettuce Days now rubs elbows with past winners such as the NBA All-Star Game, Cactus League Baseball and the Fiesta Bowl Festival of College Football.

The award was accepted by Susan Sternitzke and Kristan Sheppeard of the Yuma Visitors Bureau, organizer of the 2011 Lettuce Days 2011, from Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, at the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Wow what an unbelievable honor, said Sheppeard, who as director of YVB’s new agritourism division took the lead in Lettuce Days planning and execution.

We’re just thrilled, said Sternitzke, YVB executive director. Yuma earned so much positive media and recognition in the last year. We’re looking at this as just the first salvo of new attention and recognition of what we have to offer.

Yuma Lettuce Days was chosen out of a statewide pool of competitors in the Urban category. The festival competed against events held in other areas with a population of 75,000 or more, including those in metro Phoenix and Tucson.

Though we knew we were among the finalists, when I looked at the list of past winners in the program at lunch, I figured we didn’t really have a chance, Sheppeard said.

This is just amazing, especially considering all the great events that take place every year across Arizona.

Sheppeard attributed the success to the shift of Lettuce Days away from just being just another arts and crafts fair, and back to focusing on Yuma’s agriculture.

All the changes we made to Yuma Lettuce Days this year were intended to give it a new and distinct identity ” I guess this award is evidence that we achieved that and took it to a new level in terms of attracting people from outside of Yuma and outside Arizona.

Plus, the strong support we got from Yuma agriculture community and the shippers and packers was really important.

Lettuce Days is expected to become a yearly tradition in its current form, Sheppeard added.

Our goal is to make Lettuce Days a signature event for our area, like the Garlic Festival is for Gilroy (Calif.). This award will give a big boost to our efforts to promote Lettuce Days as a great showcase for the whole Yuma area and our fantastic agriculture industry.

This event would not have been possible without both the ag community which includes growers, shippers, Yuma Safe Produce Council, Yuma Area Ag Council and really the entire industry ” and the amazing culinary experts, which includes all of the talented executive chefs that offered their culinary expertise for the entire festival.

Yuma was last honored with a Governor’s Tourism Award in 2009, when the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area earned the annual Arizona Preservation Award for its master plan redevelopment programs.

Sternitzke, Sheppeard and Ann Walker represented Yuma at the tourism conference, along with Tina Clark from the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.

It’s been great, Sternitzke said. Everyone we talk to is giving such positive feedback, it’s nice to see that Yuma’s hard work is not going unnoticed.

13th July
written by clothcutter

It’s over 100 pages and it’s a little ponderous to read.  Here’s a snapshot  of the Pima County Audit for your digestion( or indigestion).  A listing of the MTCVB Board will follow soon.  It’s up to them to see if this gets fixed and get rid of the Walker/Vaughan tandem.(at left on their Scottish Golf Vacation with one of their vendors)


Here’ s the complete report: http://pima.gov/Administration/MTCVB_audit/bd-mtcvb.audit.report_20110712090644.pdf

Tale of the Tape – Stats on Tourism Growth

The ten-year recent period of 1999-2008 was selected, just before

the precipitous drops that occurred across the state in 2009. Here

are the results.

1.    Arizona’s total travel spending for the period grew 41.4

percent, from $13,071billion to $18,480 billion dollars.

2.    Maricopa County’s travel spending percentage of growth

exceeded that of the state with a 49.7 % increase, from $7,779

billion to an estimated $11,642 billion.

3.    Pima County’s tourism expenditures experienced a

significantly less robust estimated growth rate of only 21.8

percent, from $1,725 billion to $2,101 billion.

 This time period was during the boom days.  Before global economic meltdowns, SB 1070s, etc.  Pima County lost significant market share during the tenure of the Walker/Vaughan.  They were funded anywhere between $6-$10 million per year.  They also get paid $180,000 and $230,000 respectively.  That’s some serious money.  Serious money for bad results.  Time to go, gents.

20th April
written by clothcutter
Local stakeholders are meeting with the City’s Audit Commission Subcommittee tomorrow to give input on the MTCVB’s performance and lack of accountability.  Council staff members have asked for the input to be confidential, fearing that stakeholders that don’t speak highly of Mr. Walker and Mr. Vahaugn will receive a little backlash.  Ms.

Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau (MTCVB) Subcommittee

Thursday April 21, 2011 – 10:00 A.M.
Mayor and Council Chambers
City Hall, 255 W. Alameda

“We’ll see y’all down there”

31st March
written by clothcutter

This March is going down as the worst hotel/tourism revenue March in the last 20 years.  The complete loss of Spring Training (which the Bureau took credit for business booked from) and lack of destination marketing and unique branding is taking a heavy toll on local business.

Do we see anything bold coming from Mr. Walker and Mr. Vahuagn?  No, not really.  It’s nice to see that that they are finally moving off the uninspiring “Real, Natural, Arizona” tagline and moving to the “The Real Southwest”.  In addition to that, same old stuff. 

They are masters at feathering their bureaucratic nest, doing Powerpoint “dog and pony” shows and ensuring their combined $400,000 in salaries.  So, what do they do to help their members after the worst March ever?  Hit them up for money to paid to Steve Rosenberg’s BizTucson to fluff up their image.  If you are hotel/resort/attraction GM and you actually pay money to a local mag, just so it can make Walker and Vahaugn look good, you are failing your property pretty miserably.

How about directing that money in a bold initiative that can actally produce some business for your suffering members?   Oh, that would be serving them instead of yourselves. Sorry.

From an e-mail to their members:

March 28, 2011

Dear MTCVB Partner,

We are pleased to announce that BizTucson will feature a special section profiling the many achievements, strategic vision and marketing strategies of the MTCVB, as the editorial centerpiece of the Summer 2011 edition of the magazine. The business of tourism has a significant impact on our economy and BizTucson will provide the business community with an in-depth Special Report on this important economic driver. The MTCVB will also be able to utilize the Special Report as a year-round business development tool and marketing piece (frame it and put up in their offices?) …  locally, nationally and internationally.

The MTCVB section also presents an exceptional business-to-business (B2B) marketing opportunity for your organization. Plus, it’s important for our business community to show its unified support (that was gone a long time ago)  of MTCVB and our region’s tourism initiatives.

 By placing your advertising message in BizTucson, your company will reach the region’s leading CEO’s, Presidents, CFO’s, entrepreneurs… plus, top-level managers in the private and public sectors. These individuals make purchasing decisions for their companies. The MTCVB special section is funded by advertising support (Rosenberg wouldn’t say nice things about them for free?) . As the ad support increases, the editorial coverage within the special section increases proportionately. (Give Rosenberg more of your money and we will get more pages to exaggerate!)

As BizTucson enters its third year of publishing, its mission is to continue reporting on the region’s business success stories (SALC Members Complimenting Each Other Issue was amazing!), which is important in portraying our city in a positive light. Tucson’s world-class resorts, spas, golf courses, guest ranches and attractions many times receive significant national and international press, yet in many cases this success remains “under the radar.” There’s a lot to be optimistic about! (Like Walker and Vahaugn being shown the door)

Please consider joining us for this upcoming special edition. BizTucson is offering MTCVB Partners a special discount of up to 20% (WOW!) for advertising in this special section. If you wish to advertise, the space reservation deadline is April 22, 2011. You can reach Publisher Steve Rosenberg at 520.907.1012 or e-mail: steve@biztucson.com.

Wishing you and your business continued success!! (You’ll need it!)


Best regards,


Jonathan Walker

President & CEO


28th March
written by clothcutter

From our friends at Inside Tucson Business:

“Underrated’ Tucson”

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011 5:00 pm | Updated: 3:44 pm, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

“According to the editors of Travel + Leisure magazine, Tucson ranks among the most underrated destination in the world.

“It’s not just rodeos and golf courses,” according to the magazine, specifically noting the efforts to revive downtown with top-notch dining.

Other underrated destinations included Detroit; Nara, Japan; Bratislava, Slovakia; Galsgow, Scotland; and Taipei, Taiwan.”

This is not really good news, as the ITB puts it.  It means we have a great destination that no one really know about.  A big contention of whistleblowers at the Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau is that Mr. Walker has built up a army of employees at the expense of actually marketing the destination.

Preliminary findings of the Pima County Tourism Audit Commission are pointing to an % increase in payroll over the last several years(except the last year or so)  at the MTCVB.  Over the same period, there has been a % decrease in the actual marketing expenditures.  I am sure that the MTCVB’s Board Members who see this article might be encouraged, but they shouldn’t.

It’s time for a change at the the top of the MTCVB.  Mr. Walker and Mr. Vahaugn have worn out their welcome. After a decade of them and their rubberstamping boards of directors, they have achieved quite a goal:  Tucson is a best kept secret.  I am sure that makes all the business owners in Tucson who rely on the tourist dollar very happy.  This March is going to go down as possibly the worst March (tourism revenue)  in the last 20 years. It is time to find some new people with new ideas.

(Pictured:  The CVB Brass Enjoying a Cocktail in Scotland)

Maybe Bratislava looking for new arrogant 1-2 combo at the MBCVB.

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