In honor of National Tourism Week, I decided to put my colleagues on the spot with the question: “What’s your favorite experience working in the tourism industry?” Now, in all fairness, I know we have the pleasure of working in such an exciting industry, and there are so many fun things we get to do; so, this question is an easy and fun one for the all-star Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau team to answer.

Ann NemanicAnn Nemanic, Executive Director

"Making connections between partners is my favorite part of tourism. In today's world operating in a silo simply doesn't work. I love working together as an industry, referring guests from one property to another, and creating a unique getaway package to entice someone to spend 3 nights instead of 2; it's all about making those connections. I love seeing how quickly after meeting  people can work together. From this simple connection, the LHVB is able to create and share stories, build itineraries, expand a visitor's options and opportunities. I often think of us a giant quilt: our partners are the patches and the connections they make are the stitches that bring everything together into a one-of-a-kind fabric of beauty." 

Jared BundyJared Bundy, Director of Interactive Marketing

“I've only been in the tourism world for 2 months, but I already have more memorable experiences than I count! My favorite moments so far have been presenting for different groups throughout the area, and meeting all of the amazing people that make up the Laurel Highlands. Working with groups as varied as Leadership Westmoreland to UPMC and health professionals, it has been very rewarding to see all the great work people are doing in digital marketing and helping them in any way I can!”

Anna WeltzAnna Weltz, Director of PR 

“Everyday I get to host a journalist and take them around the area and show them the places and activities we have to offer is pretty incredible. The one that stands out the most to me was just last weekend on my German press tour. While we were at Fallingwater, one of the journalists causally asked how far away Ligonier was, and I about fell out of my chair. As a younger traveler he had been to Ligonier, and that, to me, demonstrated just how small the world is and how connected we are.”

Georgia RobinskyGeorgia Robinsky, Finance Manager

“The local business owners are probably my favorite part of the job. Meeting with them and learning about all the wonderful places to see and hearing about visitor experiences and stories really make my job a ton of fun.” 

Louise Bates, Sales Development Manager

Louise Bates"The best bit of working in tourism is being out on the road and meeting so many wonderful, interesting people throughout the region. Everyone is welcoming and friendly. It's inspiring to see so many follow their dreams, open their own shop, restaurant, bar, or guest house, and run with it. It's bewitching and exciting for me to sparkle in their eyes and their raw enthusiasm as they talk about their life's achievements, their business and their future plans. It's empowering and encouraging to see the boldness creativity, and determination. Keep it going folks!"

Rachel Roehrig, Administrative Coordinator

Rachel Roehrig“In my position, I receive a lot of calls from people asking what there is to do in the area, looking for suggestion,or in search of more information and materials. My favorite part of the job is when I receive positive notes in the mail from those people or the phone calls I sometimes get back from them, thanking me for my guidance. I often get offers to meet them while they’re in the area, and I love hearing about what they loved about their trip. Knowing someone is enjoy the beautiful Laurel Highlands as much as I do brings me joy.”

Kristin EckerKristin Ecker, VP of Marketing and Communications

“I love being in the business of selling fun. The product we get to sell is everyone’s favorite places and pastimes. There is never a point in time where my job is boring or monotonous. We get dream up and create endless opportunities to promote this region. There’s no ceiling on what we can do or how to spread the word, and because we’re selling all of these incredible experiences, we get to experience it also!”

Stacey MagdaStacey Magda, Group Sales Manager

“My favorite part of my job is showcasing the Laurel Highlands through site visits and familiarization tours, of course! It’s one thing to meet and connect with tour and travel professionals at conferences, but it’s a whole other experience to invite them to actually explore our region. With a site visit, I get the opportunity to welcome planners and tour professionals to our very special corner of the world, and see their expressions and reactions to our naturally gorgeous, culturally impressive, and historically significant sites. I get to show them what tourism is all about and why we love representing this place we get to call home!”