By Bill McHugh |

The St. Tammany Parish Tourist and Convention Commission has begun a planning process that will define its strategic goals and initiatives for the coming year and beyond.

CEO Donna O’Daniels announced the process at the commission’s Oct. 27 meeting at the Southern Hotel in Covington. It has been several years since the organization developed a new strategic plan, O’Daniels said.

O’Daniels introduced Berkeley Young, president of Young Strategies, a North Carolina consulting firm that has worked with destination marketing organizations across the country.

Young will lead the tourist commission through a process that started earlier this year but was delayed by the coronavirus. He said the process will use planning tools developed by the Destination Marketing Association International industry group.

The first step, about to get underway, is an online survey of tourist commission board and staff members; parish hospitality leaders; economic development experts; and city, parish, and state government officials. Participants will be asked to identify the parish’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as a travel destination.

Using the survey results, marketing strategies and specific plans will be prepared to take advantage of opportunities and overcome identified obstacles.

The tourist commission board will then develop three to five strategic initiatives that the organization can pursue. Annual reviews will be conducted to measure progress, set new goals, and develop new initiatives.

Young estimated that the initial plan could be developed by January or February to guide the organization’s activities for the rest of the 2021 calendar year. 

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