Amy Nichols, tourism director at the Wilson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, will be leaving her post, the bureau announced Friday.

Nichols' resignation is effective Jan. 3, according to a news release. She has been in the post for two years.

"I have enjoyed my time as the director of tourism and have seen the department and tourism initiatives grow beyond my expectations," Nichols said in the release. "Thank you to the Wilson County Commissioners, the team at the Wilson County CVB, and County Mayor Randall Hutto for understanding the importance of tourism for our community, and for giving me the amazing opportunity to put the department on a path of growth and implement strategic initiatives that will help our community."

Nichols' accomplishments during her tenure include implementing new branding for the department (Visit WilCo Tennessee), writing and starring in an award-winning marketing video series "WilCo on the Go," securing over $40,000 in grants, creating a new website, blog and social media presence for the tourism department, developing a multi-year marketing and business development strategy, and beginning the WilCo Hotel Forum. According to the release, during her tenurer visitor expenditures have risen over $10 million year over year, and hotel revenue by over $2.5 million.

A selection committee will be interviewing candidates to fill Nichols' position. In the interim, current staff members Crystal Petet and Ashley Shores will continue to man the bureau. Petet is the administrative assistant and leads the Paint WilCo mural initiative and other special projects, and Shores is the marketing specialist focusing on digital and social media marketing.

Nichols emphasized the importance of tourism to the local economy.

"We expect continued growth in visitor expenditure and hotel tax revenue, and if I am able to leave with parting thoughts, they would be to remember the importance of finding ways to support tourism in the county," she said. "Without these valuable visitor dollars, stores, restaurants, and our hotels will feel the impact. In addition, these visitor expenditures generate tax dollars that can be used to help our growing community, its infrastructure, its teachers and schools, and so many other valuable community assets that would otherwise require a property tax increase or sales tax increase in order to fund."

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