SAA Unveils New Strategic Vision to Foster Sustainable Tourism and Inclusive Community

Stowe, VT (July 28, 2023) — Stowe Area Association (SAA), the region’s official destination leadership organization, is proud to announce a new strategic vision in response to the growing need to balance the local visitor economy with the well-being of the community.

Carrie Simmons, Executive Director of SAA, emphasized the significance of this strategic vision, stating, “This new approach aligns with SAA’s commitment to purpose-driven growth and sustainable practices, ensuring long-term success for the association and its staff, while also positively impacting the local tourism experience.”

Known outwardly as Go Stowe, SAA is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit business association dedicated to enhancing the visitor experience while supporting member businesses. SAA plays a vital role in destination marketing and stewardship, considering the needs of visitors, the environment, and the local community. The visitor economy significantly contributes to Vermont’s annual $3.2 billion tourism economy, providing essential employment opportunities for Vermonters.

Donald Jones, co-owner of Brass Lantern Inn, praised SAA’s role in supporting local businesses, saying, “[SAA] has been an essential organization to help us make connections and build relationships with other local businesses, increase the visibility of our property, and provide our guests with resources to make the most of their trip to Stowe.”

To adapt to the changing tourism landscape, SAA has launched a three-year strategic vision, focusing on three key pillars:

  1. Destination Stewardship: Striving to balance the needs of visitors, the environment, and the local community.
  2. Sustainability: Ensuring the long-term success of SAA and its staff through sustainable practices.
  3. Membership Growth: Attracting new members and enhancing existing members’ engagement by providing valuable programs, services, and benefits.

McKee Macdonald, President of SAA’s Board of Trustees and co-owner of Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate, highlighted the organization’s evolution and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). “Through [SAA’s] marketing of Stowe, we have brought more people to our area and helped businesses grow. As SAA has evolved, we have welcomed a more diverse membership, allowing the entire business community to have a voice in the marketing of Stowe,” said Macdonald.

SAA’s dedication to inclusivity is reflected in its declaration of inclusion, affirming the association’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for all individuals. SAA strives to foster a welcoming and inclusive travel destination and community, regardless of ethnicity, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, racial background, or ability. Acknowledging there is still much work to do, SAA is committed to leading these conversations, along with the Town of Stowe, to cultivate a community where everyone feels welcome.

“[SAA’s] main goal of marketing and showcasing Stowe remains as our north star, but as visitors to Stowe have grown and become more diverse, we have decided to reflect our commitment to this growth by including DEI within our three-year plan,” said Mckee. 

Jones commended SAA’s efforts in fostering inclusivity, stating, “As a gay couple raising Black kids, our family also appreciates and supports the Association’s efforts to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment in Stowe for all people.”

In embracing inclusivity, SAA aims to create a welcoming environment where all guests, with diverse backgrounds and experiences, feel safe and at ease. Businesses that adopt inclusive practices experience increased confidence, productivity, and employee retention, making leaders three to four times more profitable than their peers.

Jen Kimmich, co-owner of The Alchemist, explained their decision to join SAA, saying, “We decided to join [SAA] because of their recent commitment to building a more welcoming and inclusive place to visit and live. The SAA team shares our values and understands the economic importance of building and supporting a business community that works for everyone.”

SAA’s new strategic vision reflects the organization’s dedication to sustainable tourism and building an inclusive community, ensuring a thriving and welcoming environment for all in the Stowe area.

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To learn more, please contact Mary Monteith, Membership Manager at SAA, at marym@gostowe.com or (802) 253-7321 ext. 220.