Judy Stubbs, president of the Chaves County Tourism Council, holds up a po int of interest map created by the council to promote local tourism. Stubbs was the guest speaker Tuesday at the Roswell Kiwanis Club. (Randal Seyler Photo)
Even without funding, the Chaves County Tourism Council manages to get the word out that Roswell and Chaves County are great places to visit.
“Our council is full of wonderful, talented people, and they all just want to make sure everyone knows Roswell is a great place to visit,” said Judy Stubbs, president of the council. Stubbs was the guest speaker at the Roswell Kiwanis Club on Tuesday.
The tourism council consists of volunteers from the numerous facilities and events in Roswell who come together each month to discuss how to better inform visitors of the city’s attractions.
“The council began in 2011 when the Cooperative Extension Service’s Rural Economic Development Through Tourism program ceased to exist,” Stubbs said.
Some of those REDTT members were still interested in promoting tourism, so they came together to form the CCTC.
“A handful of us just kept meeting, even though the funding had stopped,” Stubbs said.
“We’re a council with no dues, no by-laws, and no real membership. We’re just a group of people interested in promoting tourism.”
The CCTC exists to enhance the local tourism industry by uniting and promoting the unique culture, history and multitude of attractions within Chaves County, according to the group’s “statement of purpose.”
Ultimately, Stubbs does not see tourism as economic development, since it does not add jobs or build on existing products.
“Leprino Foods is an example of an economic development, where not only are jobs added, but raw materials from here are turned into a product that is sold all over the country.”
However, tourism is a boon to the economy in that it brings in tax dollars that help local residents pay for the infrastructure in Roswell and Chaves County.
“Tourism dollars are important to our community, and tourism is what I would call a ‘clean industry,’ but unfortunately, tourism doesn’t typically bring high-paying jobs.”
The council encourages businesses and service providers to recommend points of interest and special events, and they update and disseminate tourism information through utilizing mainstream media.
One example of that is the “points of interest” map which the CCTC created, Stubbs said.
“This is a fluid document, and we update it fairly frequently,” she said.
The map features various points of interest both for tourists and for newcomers to the city, and on the backside are color displays of various county and city attractions.
Another event the CCTC is sponsoring is the “Aiming For The Stars” conference scheduled for Oct. 17-18.
Former Mayor Bill Brainerd initiated the idea to hold a two-day event to honor the legacy of rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard and his years of research in Roswell.
The event will celebrate the fact that Roswell is the birthplace of the Space Age, with speakers including astronauts and NASA pioneers. The event will also have activities for children and the whole thing will be free to attend.
“We want to make Roswell known for something other than just UFOs,” Stubbs said, “and really so much of the history of the Space Age begins with Robert Goddard and his rockets.”