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New Bedford County tourism director named

BEDFORD (WSLS 10) - Bedford County's newly announced Director of Tourism is looking to increase marketing to bring younger visitors to the area.

Nicole Johnson starts in the position January 3. She's currently the Associate Director

She's currently the Associate Director for Development and Marketing at The National D-Day Memorial Foundation, where she's worked for more than five years. Her current position gives her an insider's perspective of what the tourism program has been lacking.

"There hasn't been a lot of promotion," said Johnson. "I feel a lot like the attractions and businesses have kind of been doing their own marketing."

They've been on their own since the abrupt departure of the last tourism director seven months ago. The county didn't post the job until October.

Johnson wants to create an overall brand for county tourism. She'd like to then break promotion down into categories like historical attractions, outdoor adventure and recreation. Younger visitors are a target audience.

"They're really into experiences, so we need to figure out how to make Bedford a destination for experiences," said Johnson. "They can come see the D-Day Memorial and take a tour. They can go to the lake and have fun on the water. They can go hiking at the Peaks of Otter."

Johnson is a Bedford native and graduate of Liberty High School and Radford University. She has more than 15 years experience in development, marketing and event management.