The Bahamas Bridges the Gap to Arizona

  • 04 December, 2017
  • Monday, 14:09 PM

Written by Rabiul Hasan, Media Intern at Global Ties Arizona

Under the U.S. Department of State exchange program, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a group of business professionals from Bahamas visited the USA with the objective to engage with American counterparts about best practices in business and to explore future partnerships and Bahamian investment opportunities in the USA. The visitors included Mrs. Dawnea Adderley, Mrs. Brenda Jenoure, Mr. Charles Pratt, Mrs. Ruth Saunders, Ms. Nadia Williams.

A portion of their three week program included a five-day long stay in Arizona hosted by Global Ties Arizona.  The group started with a visit to Sedona and the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, which was awarded an accreditation for its excellence in providing destination-marketing services. The tour was hosted by Mrs. Jennifer Wessselhoff , a certified film commissioner and the Chairman of Board of Directors for the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization. With more than 15-year experience of organizational management, Ms. Wesselhoff discussed destination marketing activities, how Sedona is positioned with the surrounding area to attract visitors and ways to create membership value in the small community.  Sedona attracts nearly 3 million visitors per year.

The group also visited Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce to discuss the objectives of growing a regional talent pool, creating a regional approach to economic development, and driving a pro-Arizona agenda. The meeting was hosted by Ms. Debbie Drotar, who is responsible for directing the chamber sales team, accomplishing member retention goals and contributing to the marketing and community relation department. The highlight of the meeting was to share the strategies and best practices for creating membership value, including how the center works with small businesses and entrepreneurs in Greater Phoenix area.
Their tour to US Small Business Administration (SBA) Arizona District Office was an interesting experience. Across the country, SBA operates many programs and services which include free counselling, special loan programs, and special advisement to socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and women business owners. Mr. James H. Pipper, lead economic development specialist, was the host of the meeting.  In the discussion, Mr. Pipper focused on the role of SBA locally, and its partnership with Chamber of Commerce, and how they help small businesses in and around Phoenix area.

An enjoyable part of the tour was visiting with Experience Scottsdale and the city’s Tourism and Events department at the Scottsdale Community Design Studio hosted by Ms. Karen Churchard, Rourism and Events Director. Originally, Experience Scottsdale was founded in 1987 as the tourism arm of the Scottsdale area Chamber of Commerce and is now a non-profit private company that  has contract with the City of Scottsdale and Town of Paradise Valley to conduct destination marketing efforts on behalf of these municipalities.   The discussion conducted by Ms. Churchard highlighted how over 40 brands contribute to make the Scottsdale area as a world-class destination through advertisements, campaigns, social media and a variety of marketing and sales tactics.

The group tour ended with the delegates visiting Economic Development Office at City of Scottsdale. The meeting was hosted by Mr. Tunis, a certified economist with vast experience of working as a both Economic Development Director and Foreign Service Officer. Under his leadership, Scottsdale Economic Department received a Gold award in 2015 from the International Economic Development Council. In his meeting with the delegates, Mr. Tunis explained how this office leverages many of Scottsdale’s assets to attract new businesses and economic development.
 

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