Workshop to Explore Link Between Tourism and In-migration Industry

Jul 18, 2011 – “Marketing Elizabeth City as a Retirement and Relocation Destination” will be the focus of a special workshop Aug. 3 from 9:30 a.m. — 1 p.m. at Montero’s Restaurant in Elizabeth City. Sponsored by the Albemarle Economic Development Commission (AEDC), Elizabeth City Pasquotank Tourism Development Authority and the Albemarle Area Committee of 100, the event will be led by Patrick Mason, co-founder of the Center for Carolina Living, in Columbia, S.C., and a nationally-renowned expert on retirement tourism and the topic of “in-migration.”

“This is an excellent opportunity for our local businesses to find out more about the economic link between the tourism and the retirement and relocation industries, both of which have the potential for consistent growth over the next 30 years,” said AEDC Director Wayne Harris.

Mason co-founded the Center for Carolina Living in 1986 after 11 years in destination marketing with Marriott in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., and following three years as vice president lead generation with U.S. Capital Corporation, a developer of resort condominiums in 13 national destination markets. Among the first to co-brand the Carolinas as a destination, the Center’s print and digital communication platform reaches 500,000 transient pleasure visitors a year.

“The term ‘in-migration’ means migration by choice,” explained Mason. “These are people of all ages who choose to take a job, buy a second home, open a business or retire to a destination because they have visited the area—and like what they see. There are significant economic, social and cultural benefits to be garnered from attracting these individuals to your community.”

Charlotte Underwood, director of the Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitors Bureau agrees that tourism can be a catalyst for visitors relocating to the area.

“Our visitors have such a positive experience when they tour Elizabeth City and often comment on what a wonderful place it must be

to live,” said Underwood. “Many have made that choice already, choosing our ‘”Harbor of Hospitality’ as their home, starting their own businesses and contributing to the community in so many wonderful ways.”

During the first part of the workshop, attendees will take Mason’s in-migration “pop quiz” and discuss and share information about the Elizabeth City area. A brief networking period will precede lunch at 12 noon, during which Mason will present the group’s findings, along with a report on in-migration research and trends.

A leading destination research and marketing expert, Mason has been a Clemson Associate Adjunct Professor since 1998 and serves as a USC International Tourism Institute Fellow. He recently addressed the South Carolina ULI Annual State-wide meeting with a “Research Briefing on Tourism and In-migration.”

The workshop is ideally suited for professionals who are acquiring, managing or marketing destination assets in the Northeastern

North Carolina region. The cost is $15, including lunch. Contact Kathy Harris at the AEDC for reservations at (252) 338-0169 or kharris@elizabethcitypasquotankedc.com