There are changes in the air at the Howard County Office of Tourism and Promotions with the new funding that recently passed the State legislature and the almost renovated new office space in the old post office in Ellicott City. Here is a glance at the staff that is making it happen.
Rachelina Bonacci, executive director
As the executive director of Howard County Tourism & Promotion (the parent organization of Blossoms of Hope), Rachelina Bonacci drafts and implements the communications and marketing plan for Tourism and manages all of the media relations, advocacy and governmental affairs for the organization. She supports the director of sales with participation in sales missions, trade show attendance, FAMs (familiarization tours) and site inspections to directly book business with Tourism’s partners.
Taffy Rice, director of sales
Taffy Rice implements all of the strategies and tactics of the group sales effort to promote and sell Howard County as a destination for business and leisure travel. She solicits association, meeting, SMERF (social, military, educational, religious, fraternal), sports, consumer and group tour business through a variety of methods including sales missions, direct sales calls, trade show attendance and more. Rice also maintains relationships with partner hoteliers, conference centers, meeting venues, group-friendly attractions and sports facilities and maintains relationships for referrals with the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, Destination DC and Visit Baltimore.
Victoria Goodman, executive director, Blossoms of Hope: The Howard County Cherry Tree Project
Victoria Goodman directs all aspects of the Blossoms of Hope project including tree sponsorship opportunities, event management and other promotional activities. Blossoms of Hope beautifies our destination, promotes wellness, creates tourism opportunities for family togetherness and improves the lives of those in our community coping with cancer.
Amanda Hof, events & project manager
Amanda Hof manages Tourism’s Restaurant Weeks and partnership functions. She also develops new tourism products to market Howard County’s attractions and amenities to new customers. She also assists with the operational needs of the Blossoms of Hope project.
Edward Lilley, Visitor Information Center manager
Edward Lilley manages all aspects of the daily operation of Howard County Tourism. He staffs and manages the center, keeps informational brochures well stocked and posts notices of events and ongoing programs for partners. He is also responsible for booking school field trips, heritage groups tours and the very popular ghost tours. Lilley also manages the inventory and sale of the many retail items available in the Visitor Information Center.
Kim Phillips, tourism specialist
Kim Phillips operates the day-to-day needs of the Visitor Center and its many guests, and assists the Tourism Team in its community and regional activities. She also manages Tourism’s partnership database.
Shannon Eltzroth, web content specialist
Shannon Eltzroth manages Tourism’s web site, keeping the information on it current. She also helps to maintain the team’s online presence through social media.