GH Visitors Bureau Seeking New Director

    GRAND HAVEN — The Chamber of Commerce hopes to have a new director on board within a few weeks for the Grand Haven-Spring Lake Area Visitors Bureau.

    The Chamber is seeking a successor to long-time tourism chief Laurel Nease, who stepped down late last month as its vice president of tourism development and bureau’s executive director. The Grand Haven-Spring Lake Area Visitors Bureau operates as a division of The Chamber, although it has a separate board of directors.

    With the change in leadership at the bureau, The Chamber will probably “tweak” the position’s job description, President Joy Gaasch said.

    “That’s more than a full-time job the way the job description’s written,” Gaasch said. “Whenever anybody leaves it’s an opportunity to look at the job description and everything. We will probably tweak the position a bit.”

    Parts of the job already have been re-allocated to other chamber staff.

    Nease resigned effective June 26 after more than 12 years as head of the Visitors Bureau, where she led efforts to promote and market the local tourism trade and the Grand Haven-Spring Lake area as a travel destination. Gaasch credited Nease with developing and implementing marketing programs that “raised the level of awareness” of the area as a travel destination.

    “Her talent, creativity and dedication to our organization and our community will be difficult to replace,” Gaasch said.

    Nease resigned to spend more time with her family, Gaasch said.

    “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Visitors Bureau and the opportunity it gave me to work with tourism businesses. I am leaving the position with a great deal of satisfaction of all that has been accomplished,” Nease said.

    Nease’s resignation came as the local tourism economy hits its busiest period of the year and represents the second top-level director to leave The Chamber this year. Karen Benson stepped down as vice president for economic development at the end of April after 16 years with the organization. She was succeeded by Tricia Ryan.           

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