Open for business

Published 12:10 am Thursday, December 15, 2011

We’re disappointed that, come early next year, Washington will no longer have a stand-alone visitor center to welcome tourists. This closure is a symptom of ongoing budget-tightening measures in the wake of the Great Recession.

But we’re grateful that visitor-greeting duties will be taken over by the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce on a seven-day-a-week basis.

This means that people discovering, or rediscovering, our city won’t be left out in the cold when they drop by.

And it’s worth noting the chamber used to handle greeting duties in the city, and that many passersby still enter the chamber building for information on Washington and surrounding communities.

As reported on Sunday’s front page, the Washington Visitor Center is closing.

The City of Washington’s Tourism Development Authority will contract out greeting services to the chamber, which is located just across Stewart Parkway from the existing Visitor Center.

This move, along with other related measures, eventually will save the tourism authority around $20,000 a year.

Yet, the takeaway message here is that the city and its nonprofit partners understand the importance of maintaining that “open for business” sign — and a friendly face behind it.

Good greeting is just good business.

Now, let’s hope business picks up.