Lynchburg may be fifty square miles and have more than 3,000 businesses, but chances are you have interacted directly with many members of our team. However, you may not know exactly what goes in every day to building the best small city in America. Each person on our team brings a unique mindset and skillset, committed to growing our Lynchburg economy.
Tourism is one of the most dynamic pieces of economic development; one that is often overlooked in the impact it has on the local economy. In fiscal year 2020, local tourism contributed over $19 million in economic impact to the City of Lynchburg, and tourism revenue increased across almost all categories by 5%. Below, we talk with our Tourism Sales Manager, Lisa Meriwether, to learn a little more about what her day to day looks like selling the City of Lynchburg for visitor investment through conferences, meetings, groups and sports.
Meet Lisa Meriwether, Tourism Sales Manager
Let’s start with the basics: what is your name and what is your job title?
My name is Lisa Kennedy Meriwether and I am the Tourism Sales Manager for the Office of Economic Development & Tourism.
What does that actually mean? (i.e. what do you do?)
I sell the City of Lynchburg as a destination for meetings, conferences, sporting events and leisure travelers. I bring hotel properties, attractions and restaurants to the table with meeting and event planners to align resources to make events – from the smallest meeting to the largest conference and sporting event – memorable for all, crafting experiences that showcase the best that the Lynchburg region has to offer.
For example, in August of 2019, Lynchburg hosted the State Games of America, bringing more than 14,000 visitors to the City in the span of a week. The Office of Economic Development & Tourism partnered with Virginia Amateur Sports and Liberty University generating more than $7 million in economic impact and almost $225,000 in direct tax revenue from a single sports tourism event.
How long have you worked for the City?
Six years with the City of Lynchburg but more than 30 years in hospitality and tourism.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The strong partnerships I have built with many of our tourism stakeholders. These trusting partnerships allow for creativity. Meeting and event planners will typically have some fairly interesting needs that require we look and think about providing services a bit differently to provide a memorable experience for their event attendees.
One example of these strong relationships is the development of the Meet LYH incentive, partnering with local lodging sales teams to attract corporate, association, and government meetings to the City of Lynchburg.
Favorite spot in Lynchburg to visit on a day off?
I LOVE our trail system. I normally hop on at the Ed Page Entrance and will walk for hours. The scenery is beautiful and you think you are walking a trail somewhere in the country when, in fact, you are in the heart of the city. It is fabulous and a true Lynchburg gem.
Can you share a random fact or two about yourself?
- I am six foot 2 inches tall and own it!
- I am a collector of 70’s vintage Looney Tunes glassware. If anyone has a SlowPoke Rodriquez or a Natasha from Bullwinkle and would like to let me have them, PLEASE let me know. 🙂
You can connect with Lisa directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.lynchburgvirginia.org to learn more.