National Travel and Tourism Week May 2-8, 2021

While we faced extraordinary challenges in the past year, our industry united like never before, lifted each other up, aided one another, and devoted ourselves fully to the task of supporting and restoring all sectors of travel. This year’s National Travel and Tourism Week is an opportunity to turn the page to a new chapter in our industry’s story and celebrate its collective power by spotlighting the innumerable ways travel will drive recovery, bring Americans together again and help define our country’s path forward.

VisitNorfolk is participating in National Travel and Tourism Week by highlighting hospitality and tourism workers within the city. We asked these industry leaders questions on how tourism plays a role in their everyday life so you can gain a first-hand perspective on how tourism plays a crucial role for our city. We are so excited to share the full power of our industry—and the strength and spirit of VisitNorfolk—this NTTW!

Malia McGee

Owner and Operator of Four Eleven York and The Birch

Malia McGee

How does tourism directly impact you and our city?

As a boutique inn and fine dining restaurant operator, tourism is an essential part of our business. Our guests range from out of town tourists, to business travelers, as well as locals from neighboring cities looking for a little getaway close to home. Tourism allows our city to show people from all over all of the unique amenities this area offers, a bit of urban life, the beach, and our local small businesses.

Why are you proud to work in the travel industry?

I love owning businesses that are a part of the attraction for tourists. The Birch was ranked one of the Top 10 Beer Bars by USA Today and Four Eleven York has been nominated for Travel and Leisure’s World Best Places for 2021. 

What do you love most about Norfolk?

Norfolk has a lot to offer! I love that we have so many local businesses in our community offering a variety of products and services. Additionally, that we have a community of patrons and fellow business owners alike that support us and one another. Innovation is the key to keeping our city lively and energetic and it is certainly prevalent throughout.

 

Jarrell Williams

Influencer and Owner of Nomarama

Family Ferry - Sway Photo

How does tourism directly impact you and our city?

Tourism impacts me because it plays into what I do with Nomarama! For years I had been showcasing and spotlighting these amazing places of business in and around Norfolk to make residents aware of just what this city has to offer. All the while people on the outside [other areas] were looking at Norfolk as a place they wanted to check out.  Tourism is extremely important for Norfolk as it brings new people and new energy to our city. People come to visit, see exactly what we have to offer, and either return home with plans to visit again or in some cases maybe make plans to relocate here!

Why are you proud to work in the travel industry?

Because it truly is fun and meaningful work. It's not just showing people cool things and great food but at the end of the day it's helping. Each local business, restaurant, etc is someone's dream. They set out to open "X" with the overall goal to sell, cook, whatever something from their hearts. If I can put more people on to someone's true passion and help them make their dreams come true, there is no better job.

What do you love most about Norfolk?

I love that there is always something to do. Whether it be hitting a museum, a bike ride on the ERT or just a casual walk through one of the many neighborhoods, Norfolk's got some charm. No matter how many times I have moved away, something keeps pulling me back. 

 

Diane Wells

Digital Media Specialist for Nauticus

Diana Wells Nauticus

How does tourism directly impact you and our city?

Norfolk is bustling with many sights and attractions for incoming tourists to experience, and as the Digital Media Specialist at Nauticus my focus is to deliver engaging content to attract visitation not only from locals but from surrounding cities, states, and beyond!

Why are you proud to work in the travel industry?

As a big fan of traveling and exploring new cities, it's a great feeling to see others enjoying their time in our beautiful city knowing I played a small role in it.

What do you love most about Norfolk?

I love that the city is surrounded by water experiences, whether it's the waterfront in Downtown Norfolk or the beaches in Ocean View there's something different for every water lover. P.S. The brewery scene is a close second!

 

Yvan Devulder and Jacqueline Pavilla

Owners of La Brioche 

La Brioche Owners

How does tourism directly impact you and our city?

We are in the heart of the NEON district with all the murals and of course the area is popular for those wonderful pieces of art!

People coming from the battleship would easily walk from downtown to our bakery and make a stop from La Brioche while visiting the area. It is incredible to see so many people taking pictures in the NEON district. 

Why are you proud to work in the travel industry

Because we are a French artisan bakery we offer a nice "trip" to France in Norfolk.

What do you love most about Norfolk?

The diversity, the community and the size of the city is perfect. We know our neighbors and our customers personally. This city is very dynamic, surprising and has so much to offer. There is such a great energy to improve the neighborhood and to support local businesses. There is always something to do, see and discover. What city can be proud to have in walking distance access to Opera, comedy, theatre, restaurants, Waterside, breweries, parks...we love all of them! For us Norfolk is like an European sized city!

 

Ophélie Le Livec

Services Coordinator for VisitNorfolk

Ophélie Le Livec

How does tourism directly impact you and our city?

The tourism industry has immense economic value for a country’s economy and people, and greatly benefits local communities through the creation of multiple jobs. The travel and tourism industry is one of the most competitive and innovative industries in the world. This ensures that new creative ideas and services are constantly being developed to keep up with visitor’s needs in order to stay ahead of the competition.

Why are you proud to work in the travel industry?

I am proud to work in the travel industry because I get to meet new people from all over the world. By working in the travel industry I feel like I can contribute to our visitor’s happiness and help them have the best time/experience while there are planning their trip to Norfolk and continue helping them once they get to our city.

What do you love most about Norfolk?

It is hard to say what I love most about Norfolk because I am still discovering Norfolk even after 5 years here. Norfolk has changed so much in 5 years, new businesses open all the time. I love how clean the city is, that it is a charming walkable city with nice trails such as the Cannonball and Elizabeth River Trail, a nice waterfront, unique attractions such, as a Battleship that you can visit- we have it all in one city. Norfolk is my second favorite home.