Onslow County’s next tourism manager has long been a part of promoting the county’s events and attractions and is looking forward to continuing that task from her new position.
Donna Hammonds, the longtime executive director for the Swansboro Area Chamber of Commerce, will take on the role of Onslow County tourism manager effective April 16.
“I am sad to leave (the Swansboro chamber), but I am also excited about this new endeavor,” Hammonds said Wednesday.
Hammonds will take over for current Tourism Manager Kristen Loflin, who has held the position for two years. Her husband, Staff Sgt. Joshua Loflin, has received orders to New Orleans.
Loflin’s last day will be May 4.
They both expect the transition to be a smooth one.
“I’m leaving the program in very capable hands. Donna already knows the community and the people,” Loflin said.
Hammonds said as executive director of the Swansboro chamber, she has worked with the business community as well as tourism, with the tourism aspect growing when the Hampton Inn opened in town and a Swansboro Tourism Development Authority was formed.
She has also been a member of the Onslow County Tourism Advisory Committee since 2009.
Hammonds said that through the visitor’s center in downtown Swansboro, the Swansboro chamber is a “front door” to promoting not only Swansboro as a destination but all of Onslow County.
As Onslow County Tourism Manager she looks forward to continuing to promote Onslow County from a new perspective.
“It is almost like a natural fit,” she said.
Jacksonville Onslow Chamber of Commerce President Laurette Leagon said Hammonds will bring with her valuable experience and knowledge of not only Onslow County but specifically the tourism industry.
And already has the relationships within the community.
“She has built a tremendous amount of alliances with attractions, with businesses and with county leaders,” Leagon said.
Loflin said she is looking forward to the potential of new opportunities in New Orleans, one of the top tourism destinations in the country but will miss the relationships she established in Onslow County.
“When you work in a community you get to know the people and build relationships, and I’m going to miss that, so there are mixed emotions but I’m looking forward to the opportunities ahead,” she said.
Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.