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Chamber hires new tourism director
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A new face will be promoting Newton County to the rest of the world, as the chamber has hired local resident Jenny McDonald as its new tourism director.

McDonald has nearly 30 years of marketing experience, according to her resume. She will take over for Clara Deemer, who is retiring at the end of the month after 10 years at the chamber.

“Jenny was selected because of her enormous experience with marketing and brand management. She has a great balance between creativity, productivity and relationships,” Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce President Hunter Hall said in a Tuesday email. “We are very confident that she has the background and expertise to leverage the tourism success that we have seen here in Covington and continue to grow our global exposure.”

McDonald’s most recent and longest-tenured position was as senior vice president and director of creative services for BKV Adverting, an Atlanta-based marketing firm that focuses on direct and digital marketing. She worked for the company for 18 years, before starting her own company, The Brand Studio, in April 2012.

Hall said previously that the next tourism director would be asked to build on the county’s success as a movie destination through an increased emphasis on marketing, including the creation of a county-wide branding plan. According to the job description, the director will be responsible for seeking a qualified firm to create a branding strategy and help to formulate and implement that strategy.

Hall said the new director must be able to manage all three of the chamber’s brands — traditional small business, tourism and economic development (including attracting filming projects).

Tourism’s budget was $222,734.85 last year, with all of that money coming from hotel/motel taxes.

The chamber receives a total of 4.5 percent of all hotel/motel tax revenue — the hotel/motel tax rate is 8 percent.