Oxford Tourism Council up for reorganization

OXFORD – The Oxford Tourism Council is reconsidering some of its responsibilities, along with its location.
The volunteer board met with the Board of Aldermen this week to discuss a possible split from the Convention and Visitors Bureau and a shift away from overseeing the Oxford Conference Center.
The council was formed to promote tourism. For years its offices were on the Square, and it continues to have a desk inside City Hall. When the Oxford Conference Center opened in 2004, however, the council was assigned oversight of its operations and moved its offices to the conference center.
Emily Rikard, Tourism Council chairwoman, said one of the factors is the workload of the board, which consists largely of hospitality industry professionals.
“At times it can definitely be overwhelming,” Rikard said.
Jim McCauley, vice chair, said he thinks the council will maintain control over Conference Center operations and marketing.
“We’ve done it, and we haven’t had a lot of problems, except we have very cloudy lines of which side of the tourism-conference center line the money is spent on,” he said.
Rikard is satisfied with the current physical arrangement of offices at the Conference Center with an information desk at City Hall.
“I think having some type of presence on the Square needs to continue,” she said.
The Tourism Council will have its regular monthly meeting at 5:15 Wednesday at the Conference Center. Some of the meeting will be conducted behind closed doors to discuss personnel matters, but discussion of the organization will take place in an open session.
Council members anticipate several additional work sessions to meet the Sept. 15 deadline for them to make a recommendation to the Oxford Board of Aldermen regarding its responsibilities.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal