Making Deeper Connections in Ulster County, with Lisa Berger

Episode 228

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Lisa Berger, Director of Tourism for Ulster County, has more than twenty years of government experience, starting at Ulster County Tourism as the Director of Marketing and Group Sales. She was promoted to Deputy Director in four years, and from there, was asked to lead the county’s Office of Employment and Training and Workforce Development Board.

Over the next six years, Lisa worked with businesses, economic development, and education leaders to create policies and programs that help ensure that the labor force meets the needs of local businesses and industry. Berger became the Director of Ulster County’s Department of Economic Development in September 0f 2019, where she developed strategies that promote sustainable economic growth, which will help all Ulster County residents.

In November 2020, Lisa found herself back at the county’s Tourism Department, this time as the Director. She brings an innovative, creative flair for robust partnerships and original promotional campaigns. Berger is currently looking at reinventing the standard travel guide, making it a meaningful touchstone for the creation of authentic experiences.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Lisa Berger about transferable skills and why it’s so critical to spread the word about various routes into a successful career in the tourism industry. As Lisa explains, we need to show people the path to follow and where being a travel and tourism professional could lead them. We also dive deep into Lisa’s plans for Ulster County to lead recovery in the tourism sector – including expanding the visitor base, building partnerships, and helping travelers make a deeper connection with the experiences available in the area.

What You Will Learn:

  • How transferable skills and the ability to use previous experience and a passion for helping your community can lead to a successful career in tourism
  • Why the tourism industry needs to promote the principles of diversity, equality, and inclusion
  • Some of the things that Lisa is working on to help Ulster County lead the way into recovery
  • Lisa’s new travel guide project with curated experiences that will help expand their visitor base
  • How Lisa is making partnerships work for businesses, communities, and visitors and why they are stronger together
  • Why building deeper connections through partnerships and with their visitors is driving Lisa’s approach to recovery

Making Deeper Connections

Lisa shares her passion for finding and fostering deeper connections between visitors and what Ulster County offers in terms of local activities, arts, and experiences. She shares the region’s plans for expanding their visitor base by shifting the focus onto the cultural heritage traveler and looking at their history as a center for art and music. The county’s plan to really speak to a diverse audience in a welcoming way, to let them know that they’re going to feel comfortable, is at the heart of Lisa’s plans for moving forward into the future.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Cooperation is also one of the key principles of Lisa’s roadmap to leading recovery in the tourist centers of her region. Integral to their plans to build partnerships and find ways for visitors to connect with the region is their carefully curated travel guide — complete with COVID-safe QR codes — which will showcase the unique partnerships that the county has built so they can offer visitors more recreation opportunities than ever before. Lisa also outlines her philosophy of creating connections by asking businesses in the tourism sector what they feel they need from her department, listening, and working to give them what will help them most.

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