Pender County has hired Olivia Dawson as their new Tourism Director.
Dawson is a Pender County native. She has been a Tourism Assistant for Pender County for six years in a period of unprecedented growth for the county’s tourism sector.
In her role as Tourism Director, she will guide a team in the development and execution of all tourism-related activities to promote visitation to Pender County. Dawson will oversee the Pender County Tourism Visitor Center’s marketing, sales, and operation.
Dawson has served as the Festival Coordinator and Executive Director of the North Carolina Blueberry Festival, which draws over 40,000 people annually. She is currently the director of The North Carolina Blueberry Scholarship Pageant. This program provides scholarships to young women in Eastern North Carolina. She is co-chair of Pender County Long Term Recovery Group, a long-term recovery group formed due to Hurricane Florence.
As a result of her involvement in the community, she was nominated a Woman to Watch in 2018. Dawson was recognized by the North Carolina Festival & Events Association in 2019 as Festival Director of the year. In 2020, she was a 40 under 40 honoree. Dawson made history a few years ago when she was elected Burgaw’s first female mayor. She is also one of the youngest to hold the office.
“I have no doubt she will do a wonderful job, and I look forward to working with her in her new position as tourism director,” said Pender County Manager David Andrews. “After working with Mrs. Dawson as Tourism Assistant and Mayor of Burgaw, I know she is the most talented and dedicated person for the position,” said Andrews. “As a Pender County native, she will be a great resource for the position as she knows all the great things we have to offer.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to lead Pender County’s Tourism, building on the record of innovation and success that has made us a leader in the North Carolina travel and tourism industry,” says Dawson. “I look forward to continuing to build with the Pender County Tourism team, the Tourism Development Authority (TDA), the Board, local businesses, and the many community stakeholders who make Pender County special.”
Dawson will fill the role vacated by Tammy Proctor, who is retiring after nine years of leadership as Pender County’s Tourism Director. Dawson begins her new role in Pender County on December 3, 2023.