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By Sue Muncaster | December 29th, 2021
The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Joint Powers Board (JHTTB) announces the recent award of three positions to local contractors to execute the board’s evolving function, communication, and sustainability commitments. To enhance this effort, the JHTTB commenced a contract with a consulting team from the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies working with Confluence Sustainability to spearhead a Destination Management Plan (DMP) designed to deliver a shared statement of intent towards future tourism management. A central focus of this process relies on destination and community stakeholder engagement to establish clear action plans that guide the apportionment of resources. The JHTTB believes this strategic roadmap will identify, amplify, and align the community’s shared values in ecosystem stewardship, economic vibrancy, growth management, and enhance the quality of life for residents. It is slated for a September 2022 completion.
This past fall, concurrent with the retirement of 9-year Executive Director Kate Sollitt, the JHTTB appointed four long-time residents with qualifications to execute the objectives of the JHTTB. Established communication, events, and marketing contractor, Kathryn Brackenridge will serve as Executive Director, the lead liaison between the Board and its varied interests and actions. Brackenridge’s professional background includes over 15 years of relevant work in the hospitality, resort, public, and governmental tourism sectors. Sue Muncaster will fill a newly formed position of Communications Manager, tasked with increasing and streamlining the JHTTB’s communications on the local, domestic, and international levels. Muncaster’s qualifications include 35 years in the outdoor adventure travel industry as a guide and business owner and a strong writing and activism background. To assist in the development and execution of the DMP, Tim O'Donoghue and John Rutter of the Riverwind Foundation were contracted to act as Sustainability Coordinator. The Riverwind Foundation is well known locally for its innovative work promoting environmentally and socially conscious business practices and has galvanized Jackson Hole’s sustainability certifications.
“Since our inception in 2011, the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board has been integral in building a strong tourism economy for the Jackson community. The current Board recognizes the need to prioritize destination stewardship with a renewed focus on enhancing the quality of life of our community. As we embark on this process, we intend to build on our valued community partners’ well-established and pioneering work on sustainability initiatives,” notes Cory Carlson, JHTTB Board Chair.
The DMP aims to foster greater collaboration and alignment between local government, tourism industry stakeholders, enterprise leaders, nonprofit and social services managers, public land managers, students, residents, and the diverse county workforce. Milestones in the DMP to date include the selection of a steering committee of community stakeholders who will provide oversight for the year-long planning process, as well as approval of extensive work, data collection, and communications plans. The DMP will focus on elevating existing destination stewardship initiatives rather than recreating them such as the EarthCheck Destination Certification that sets Jackson Hole apart as an early adopter and pioneer of sustainability. According to O’Donoghue, the JHTTB DMP differs from existing initiatives in that “it is the first time the entire local community will have a voice in realizing a shared vision for the future of tourism.”
“Our team at the George Washington University and Confluence Sustainability is well-positioned to assist Jackson Hole to take bold steps forward on this journey,” said Seleni Matus, Executive Director of George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies. “We’ve developed destination management plans for many global destinations including mountain resort and gateway communities, and our team has been at the forefront of shaping global destination certification standards. We also have strong ties to the community, having supported Teton County’s past sustainability assessment and certification efforts.”
About: The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Joint Powers Board (JHTTB) is dedicated to developing a healthy economy that preserves Jackson Hole’s natural capital, provides a quality visitor experience, and enhances the wellbeing of the community. The JHTTB is a seven-member volunteer board appointed by elected officials from the Town of Jackson and Teton County. In the State of Wyoming, a 5% lodging tax is collected on every visitor’s hotel, motel, and rental property stays; 3% is managed by the Wyoming Office of Tourism, and 2% stays in Teton County. 60% of these local funds are managed by the JHTTB for destination marketing, tourist education, events, and other tourism-related initiatives as outlined in the Wyoming State Statutes. The balance (40%) is managed by the Town of Jackson and Teton County, primarily to mitigate the impacts of tourism on infrastructure and services.
Kathryn Brackenridge, Executive Director, Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board
Sue Muncaster, Communications Manager, Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board