May 2022


- "Let Us Entertain You!"
- Upcoming Luncheons
- "Historical" Opportunities
- Luncheon Reservations/Sponsorship
- Industry Updates
- Member Spotlight


Wilmington's entertainment venues offer year-round opportunities for visitors to enjoy a variety of performances that feature local, regional and national artists. The uniqueness of our destination is that we have beautiful beaches and much, much more. Visitors can spend a day "beaching it" and a night "on the town" enjoying year 'round fine dining and entertainment at several locations. Check out the 2022/2023 performance schedule for the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, the 2022 schedule for Live Oak Bank Pavilion amphitheater , and see what's playing this year at the Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College and the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater . Other venues like Brooklyn Arts Center and Jengo 's Playhouse are worth checking to see if they have anything happening as well! Sign up for the weekly newsletter from the Arts Council to be up-to-date on all events.
Each November, Wilmington hosts the Cucalorus Film Festival, a renowned event that draws international submissions with performances at the Thalian and Jengo's Playhouse.

Be sure to remind your guests about Wilmington's Night Life!!


June 8: Jeffrey Bourk, A.A.E., ILM Airport Director

Jeffrey Bourk began his position as Wilmington International Airport's Director on January 3. Jeff has over 30 years of aviation experience, including 20 years focused on airport management. He has managed airports publicly and privately owned. Within the communities he has represented, Jeff has served on multiple boards to advance the community such as Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Convention and Visitors Bureau Boards and Economic Development Boards. Jeff will share an airport update and discuss the importance of collaborative partnerships to support tourism.

August 17: Jennifer Ackerson, Alon Marketing, Location TBD

Jennifer is a 25+ year veteran of the tourism industry with a deep understanding of the dynamics of tourism and visitor marketing. She is contracted with NYC & Company (the DMO for NYCity) to explain the basics of tourism marketing to rotating groups of hospitality industry businesses. She has also presented at a number of CVB's and DMO's across the country as a representative of IITA (International Inbound Travel Association). Jennifer's accolades and awards include the 2020 WITTI "Outstanding Women in Tourism Marketing Award", the 2020 IITA Stanley Fisher "Outstanding Travel Professional Award" and the 2019 NYSTIA "Excellence in Leadership Award."

"Historical" Opportunities

Last month we featured various speakers who presented information on Wilmington's storied history. Please do follow up directly with them for further information:
  • Jan Davidson, PHD, the historian at Cape Fear Museum provided a brief overview of periods of history in Wilmington. The Museum will host an Opening Reception on May 26 to celebrate their new in-house curated exhibit FIRE, a dynamic, dramatic exhibit using images and artifacts from the Museum's collection. ALL ARE INVITED TO THIS FREE EVENT!
  • Kaitlin O'Connor, Interpreter, Group Services Coordinator provided an overview of Fort Fisher State Historic Site. Kaitlin advised that they "welcome groups" of 10 or more and she can set up a (free) guided site introduction, tour and educational activity. They cannot guarantee this service for drop-ins. Big summer event: "Fort Fisher: June 1862"will feature various activities including musket and artillery demonstrations. Contact Kaitlin at for additional information
  • Amy Schlag represented WilmingonNColor, and provided a fascinating snapshot of Abraham Galloway, a historical Black figure and American hero as part of her overview of Black history in Wilmington that ranges from 1739 to the current time. Amy noted that, at this time, the tour company only provides tours for groups of seven or more but that they plan to offer regularly-scheduled tours for individuals beginning this summer. Contact for additional information.
  • Wilbur Jones is renowned in Wilmington as the person who spent 12-1/2 years spearheading the successful recognition for Wilmington as the first "American World War II Heritage City." In addition, Mr. Jones is a historian and prolific writer who is able to create "specialty tours" featuring the history of World War II in Wilmington. The World War II Heritage Guide of Wilmington and Southeastern North Carolina provides an extensive overview of information about World War II activities in our area that includes Shipbuilding, Anti-Aircraft Training, Submarine Hunting, Fighter Pilot Training, USO Entertainment and POW Camps. Contact Wilbur Jones at for further information
Wilmington Area Hospitality Association

Jeff Bourk, A.A. Wilmington ILM Airport Director

Date: June 8, 2022

Location: Station 2
602 S. Fifth Avenue
Wilmington, NC 28401

Time: 11:30 am

$25 for members
$35 for non-members


Several members (and non-members) have requested information with regard to sponsorship opportunities at our luncheon meetings.

We are pleased to offer this opportunity to any hospitality businesses or businesses that serve the hospitality industry.

We are also seeking volunteers to head committees, etc.:

Please contact or jguinup@gc-communications for details.


WAHA is offering a ONE-TIME half-year membership:
June-December 2022 for $75!!

Luncheons are $25 for members; $35 for nonmembers.

Renew or join by credit card.

Renew or join by check and/or print an invoice for payment.

*2021 membership will not be valid after May 31, 2022.



The recent Annual Travel Rally and celebration hosted by Wilmington and Beaches highlighted the positive news regarding 2021/2022 ROT (room occupancy tax) revenue being up +49.45% (7/21-2/22) with calendar year ROT (LY) up +59.53%.

In addition, guests heard Keynote Speaker
Dr. Adam Jones' presentation on the Future of Travel. Dr. Jones provided key industry insights including noting that despite inflation, consumption remains strong (even as debt is increasing); the expectation is this will continue through the summer.

He also discussed the critical issue of lack of employees, noting that "quit" rates remain high and there are fewer applicants. The only segment of employees that are up with regard to employment are 16-19 (+2%). Dr. Jones noted that "wages are only part of the problem"; it will be necessary to "remove impediments" to those not yet returned to the work force.

Dr. Jones provided a number of tips regarding how to attract and retain employees who have choices regarding where to work including that perspective employees are seeking enjoyable and fulfilling work and they are seeking opportunities to be creative and have autonomy. The "experience economy" requires employers to "mentor not manage" their employees.

Several industry guests also provided "best practices" with regard to hiring and retaining employees.

National Overview

"Leisure and Hospitality job gains were the worst since the end of 2020 and represent 1.4 million (8.5%) of pre-pandemic jobs remaining lost. There is a lack of available workers to fill the 1.7 million job openings..."*

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics released data showing that the Leisure and Hospitality industry still remains far behind in its recovery of lost, desperately needed jobs. "L&H added just 78,000 jobs in April, the lowest monthly addition since the end of 2020." **

Regarding how the economy will affect travel, it appears that potential travelers are taking inflation into consideration with regard to travel plans.

"Right now, 59% of American travelers believe it is likely an economic recession will be in the US this year. Just 27.8% believe inflation will weaken this year and just 24.2% believe the US will experience strong economic growth."

Additional factors include the sentiment that gasoline prices will affect travel this summer

On a positive note, "many Americans also continue to feel optimistic about their financial future. 42.4% believe they will be better off financially next year compared to now.***

*USTravel Association 5/6/22

**USTravel Association 5/13/22
***Destinations Analysts 5/2/22



Hello, Avelo! ILM Lands Low Cost Carrier, Avelo Airlines
Avelo Airlines recently announced service at Wilmington International Airport (ILM) with three new nonstop routes to New Haven, CT (HVN), Orlando, FL (MCO), and Baltimore/Washington, DC (BWI). The new routes begin on June 30th and July 1st and will operate on Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. One-way fares on the ultra low-cost carrier start at just $29!(*Restrictions apply) With the addition of Avelo Airlines, ILM now serves 12 nonstop destinations and travelers can get to over 360 destinations with just one stop. View ILM’s expanded route map and see where each airline is flying at Read the full “Hello Avelo” press release and learn more about Avelo and the flight schedules at
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