Sunday, October 17, 2004

Nicole Germain wants a lot of people to visit Howard County, Md. She is the new sales and marketing manager for Howard County Tourism Council Inc.

Mrs. Germain, 31, heads the partnership development, consumer and trade show marketing, and communication aspects for the nonprofit organization, which is the marketing arm of Howard County, which has a population of 267,000.

The tourism organization, with headquarters in Ellicott City, is funded by grants and membership fees from partnering businesses.

Mrs. Germain has been on the job since Sept. 23, spending most of her time exploring Howard County’s lesser-known attractions.

She also has met with some of the group’s more than 200 business partners.

Mrs. Germain comes to the Howard County Tourism Council after handling marketing and communications for the Ethics Resource Center, a D.C. nonprofit educational organization, and Catholic Relief Services, a Baltimore-based religious charity.

Although this is her first job in the tourism industry, Mrs. Germain said, her marketing background has helped her make the transition. “It’s really not that different, but there is so much I do have to learn,” she said.

Mrs. Germain said she hopes to encourage tourists and residents to visit Howard County attractions, stay at its hotels and eat at its restaurants.

“I want to open their eyes to what is in the area,” like a petting zoo at Clark’s Elioak Farm off Route 108 in Ellicott City, she said.

Howard County Tourism Council Executive Director Rachelina Bonnaci said she hired Mrs. Germain because she made a good first impression.

“She is very personable, knowledgeable and professional. There is no doubt that she will make a good impression with people visiting our office,” she said.

Although she will focus on creating more business partnerships, Ms. Bonnaci said, Mrs. Germain also will help with Howard County Tourism Council’s kwanzan cherry trees project.

The county will plant the trees on April 6 throughout the county.

Ms. Bonnaci said the organization will push for the county to eventually hold a festival, similar to the National Cherry Blossom Festival in the District, when the trees blossom.

Mrs. Germain lives in Ellicott City with her husband, Easton, and their son, Miles.

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