Christopher Fogg is leaving his post as executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce – just a few months after being named Maine’s chamber executive of the year – to take on a new role as CEO of the Maine Tourism Association.

Fogg, who also has worked chamber and tourism association jobs in Vermont, will start his new job Feb. 2. We asked Fogg some questions about his background and his vision for promoting tourism in Maine.

Q: What is the Maine Tourism Association and what does it do?

A: The Maine Tourism Association is made up of over 1,600 tourism businesses across Maine. We work in partnership with Maine Office of Tourism, the state government entity to produce Maine Invites You, the Official State Map and other publications which help promote visitation to Maine. We also work with the Office of Tourism on operating the state’s visitor centers. Beyond that, we represent our members’ interests on the state level by working with the state Legislature on tourism and business issues. We have a talented team that represents one of Maine’s largest industries.

Q: What made you want to be in charge of promoting Maine tourism?

A: Well, we are not solely in charge of promoting Maine tourism. We work in partnership with other associations, chambers of commerce and the state Office of Tourism. I think what is so great about our industry is the impact it has on visitors to our state. Running two visitor centers, you get to hear about all the great memories people have made while visiting and how much it means to them. I have heard so many stories about family reunions, marriages, anniversaries, and even people whose last wish was to visit Maine. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to share this place we all love so much with others and see the positive impact it has on their lives, even if it is only in a small way.

Q: What’s the strangest question you’ve ever gotten from an out-of-state visitor?

A: Someone asked, “When do the deer turn into moose?” They thought that deer were baby moose. Another visitor once looked at the low tide and said, “Wow, the drought is really bad here.”

Q: In your experience, what are the most effective approaches to attracting tourists?

A: I think it starts with having a quality product, and we have that with Maine. There are so many diverse recreational opportunities all set within an incredible backdrop, which make us a really attractive place to visit. The (methods) of getting your message out to potential visitors change over time, so as someone who promotes tourism, you need to keep up. But, at the same time, you need to constantly look at what your customers are doing, how they are finding you, and what they want. For years, we have heard that print is dead. It is simply not true, at least in the tourism industry based on the numbers. Last year, the Maine Tourism Association had to initiate a second print run of its Maine Invites You, the official visitor guide for the state, because requests for this printed information was so high. I have heard from other local chambers of commerce who have printed guides and are experiencing the same thing. I think it is important consider how our customers consume information and use a mix of media like social media, Web, television and radio, and print to attract them to the state.

Q: What strengths and ideas will you be bringing to the table in your new job?

A: I am a strong leader who brings over 20 years of marketing New England destinations to potential visitors. Our organization will continue to be focused on providing unparalleled customer service to those visiting our state. Our staff is often the first point of contact for visitors, and we need to make sure we are doing all that we can to help them find what they need, create a positive experience, and do our part to hopefully make them a repeat customer. The way we deliver services to potential visitors has changed dramatically over my career. You will see our organization using more technology in our visitor centers and working to engage visitors with the use of social media platforms while still maintaining our important print pieces. We will continue to be strong advocates for the tourism industry and our members. It is one of the things I have significant experience in and something the Maine Tourism Association does best. Representing over 1,600 tourism businesses across the state gives us an incredibly strong and unified voice when it comes to matters of public policy.

Q: What’s your favorite vacation spot in Maine?

A: I hate to say it, but it’s Acadia National Park.

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