History Makers: Richmond Region Tourism

Richmond Region Tourism promotes the hospitality industry in Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and New Kent.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — There is a buzz in the air at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.  As people walk through the halls, Jack Berry takes notice of how Richmond Region Tourism’s mission is at work.

“Our mission is to put heads in beds,” he explains.

Berry is the President and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism, a non-profit promoting the hospitality industry in the City of Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and New Kent counties.  It gets the word out about everything from festivals to food to family fun across the region.

“It’s kind of the untold story of regional cooperation,” he says.  “When you talk about the counties and city, there’s a common denominator about leadership.  They all are out to help the others out.  They do it, and they don’t do it for the glory.  They do it for their passion, they do it for helping others.”

Berry says the strong partnership is helping tourism grow by leaps and bounds.

signFrommers named Richmond a top destination to visit in 2014.  Richmond was American Express Travel’s number one pick in 2015.  This year Travel and Leisure ranks RVA third on an international list.

“It’s easier to sell the destination than it ever has been,” Berry adds.  “And it’s not history, it’s the culinary and the craft beer and that we are a cool place to visit.”

Berry, who has been at the helm for 23 years at Richmond Region Tourism,  cannot remember another time when even residents have been this much in love with what is happening in their own backyards.

“Now we’ve become the cheerleaders of the destination,” he describes all the community support.

All of the collaboration prompted The Valentine to name Richmond Regional Tourism as one of the 2016 History Makers.

For Berry, who has been in the crowd at the ceremony every other year, this award means the world.

“I’ve never been on the other side, so this is quite a thrill for me,” he says with a smile.

Other winners of the 2016 History Makers Awards include Dream Academy, CodeVA, Richmond Public Libraries and Dr. Edward H. Peeples.

They will receive their awards on October 18.  8News is a proud sponsor of the celebration.

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