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Located in Gainesville, Alachua County in Florida, the agency recommends guests to areas they should visit around the county. It gets its revenues from the taxes levied on the visitors when they stay in various establishments in the county. Regarding its contribution to the tourism sector, the agency recommends tourist destinations for visitors in Florida and Alachua County. The agency promotes and advertises tourism destinations on behalf of Alachua County for both international and local tourists. The employees of the agency work for the Alachua County and they strive to market the tourist destinations in the county to ensure that the tourist sector in Florida succeeds.
Visitors coming to watch food games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and other facilities are the target of Visit Gainesville in that the agency tries to convince them to stay in various facilities in the county as tourists. Business conferences also provide tourists that the agency targets in its promotional activities. People attending business or leadership conferences in Alachua County are customers of the agency in that they should pass through it for them to learn much about the conferencing facilities in the county. Cultural festivals also provide tourists that the agency serves as it tries to show them tourist destinations in Alachua.
Regarding the number of tourists, the agency serves per year, the interviewee indicated that they serve about 2.1 million tourists annually. The office of the tourism sales manager at the agency has records showing that the agency contributed about 4.9 million dollars of income to the tourism industry in the county.
The educational background of the interviewee shows that she holds a degree in hospitality from the University of Central Florida. At the college, the interviewee undertook various internships in hotels and restaurants to build her experience in tourism and hotel management. She also did an internship in catering as a way of widening her knowledge in the hotel industry. She later got a job with a restaurant as a store manager after graduation. At the agency, the interviewee, Kelly Aleman is a tourism and sales manager. One of Aleman’s responsibilities is to work with event planners to convince them regarding the tourist destinations they should choose for their events. Also, she suggests venues for events for event planners. Her suggestions are based on the need to help the county earn from the tourism function of the agency. Aleman also works with hotels and advises them on the customer needs.
Concerning her journey to the current position, Aleman indicates that her qualifications as a degree holder in hospitality propelled her to the position. She also indicates that her vast experience in managing restaurants has been part of this journey. Her love for working with groups also has contributed to her being appointed to the current position. She gained her experience from internships and working with restaurants and as such as part of the journey to her position. The journey has not been easy in that she has to attend meetings, wake up early and meet organizational and personal goals.
Aleman predicts an upsurge in the number of tourists that will need the services of the agency and recommends that the establishment enhances its accommodation facilities to cater for more customers. Also, Aleman predicts that the establishment will need to increase its managerial positions to cater for future needs. Aleman predicts an increase in the number of tourists in Alachua County and the need for the county to invest in accommodation to cater for the increase.
The interview revealed that tourism can only succeed with the support of promotion and marketing. As Xiao (2012) indicates, marketing that aims at promoting tourism activities in a county or state should be undertaken by a professional body. The interview proved this fact because the agency is a professional body that can promote tourism on behalf of Alachua County. The agency understands the needs of the tourists, and as such, it can work with the facilities that serve tourists to ensure that they offer excellent services that will attract additional tourists to the county.
Also, the interview revealed that tourism covers hotel and restaurants, accommodation and attraction sites. These factors are the focus of the agencies in charge of promoting tourism in a State. The agencies should as well advise the potential tourists on the available means of transport from one destination to another as Xiao (2012) suggests. Interestingly, the interviewee did not reveal the agency’s involvement in advising tourists on the means of travel within the county. Regarding accommodation, the interviewee explained that the agency works with hotels and event organizers to advise them on the accommodation standards that tourists want.
Although the interview helped to discover that the county government of Alachua county takes part in tourism of Florida, it did not reveal much about the government involvements beyond the collection of revenue. Also, the interviewee did not highlight the environmental considerations that the agency makes to ensure that tourism in the county contributes to the sustainability of the environment. In tourism and tourism training, the expectation is that a tourist agency explains their commitment to connecting various cultures in their promotion of tourism (Xiao, 2012). The interview found that this expectation is not given priority by the agency at Gainesville.
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