Visit The Woodlands, the convention and visitors bureau for The Woodlands Township, reduced the size of its board from nine to seven members on Jan. 11 after deciding it would remain under the township’s umbrella rather than becoming a separate entity.
Visit The Woodlands Chair Bruce Rieser said it did not make sense to the board to go through the process of separating, given that the incorporation measure on the Nov. 2 ballot failed and The Woodlands will not become a city this year.
VTW President Nick Wolda said as the township’s official destination management and marketing organization, VTW is funded by the township through hotel occupancy tax collected from 14 hotels.
The number of board members has varied from seven to 10 over the years, he said. The positions are not paid.
“This year’s three members appointed by The Woodlands Township board of directors opted to go with seven [VTW] directors this year and with entities/individuals who have the great[est] interest in the collection of hotel tax,” Wolda said.
The VTW board now consists of township board of directors members John Anthony Brown, Bruce Rieser and Shelley Sekula-Gibbs; Jenny Taylor, general manager of Market Street; Cameron Klepac, director of marketing and education for The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion; Fred Domenick, general manager of The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center; and Monique Sharp, the township’s interim general manager and president.
Rieser was elected the chair of the board, Brown was elected vice chair and Domenick was elected secretary. Nick Wolda will remain president of the body.
Not returning to the board this year are J.J. Hollie, president of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, and Ted Harris, general manager of The Woodlands Mall.
Hollie said he had served on the board since he started with the chamber in 2015.
"The chamber has historically been on the board, I believe since its inception, and I think it is important that the chamber be on [the] Visit The Woodlands board because it is an economic driver for our business community, and the insights that we add are valuable," he said.
Hollie added that he believes VTW staff are successfully negotiating the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a negative effect on the travel and service industry.
"The staff has done a great job at navigating us through that and ... maintaining an aggressive marketing posture for The Woodlands, which is something our community benefits from."
As part of the VTW meeting, discussion included international marketing and upcoming conferences booked at area hotels, which officials said generates hotel occupancy tax and tourism dollars.
Editor's note: The story was updated to include the word "president" in Monique Sharp's title.