During Colonial times, the social event of visiting one’s neighbors provided not only entertainment, but also the opportunity to share news of the day. How guests were received and welcomed in the home was an important aspect of society.

The concept of warm hospitality is extended today to visitors to and residents to Fayetteville through the efforts of the Fayetteville Area Hospitality Association, a group of hoteliers, restaurants and service-oriented businesses and organizations who work together “to promote hospitality and community awareness and involvement.”

“We are a nonprofit organization of committed businesses promoting tourism, social welfare and quality of life by improving the quality and variety of food, lodging and recreational areas for travelers and local residents,” said Ramona Moore, president of the group. “The organization stays up on matters that may affect our industry or our community, such as the recent possibility of decreasing the per diem rate for our area.”08-29-12-faha.gif

Moore, who has been with the organization for more than 20 years, explained that the nonprofit has been around since the ‘70s.

“It was the Hotel-Motel Association originally. We have expanded our qualifications for membership, and we changed the name to the Fayetteville Area Hospitality Association.”

The three different categories of membership include fi rms that provide hosting, like restaurants and lodging facilities; companies that provide a service, such as an exterminating company or rental car company, and entertainment, including recreation and sport, which would comprise groups like FireAntz Hockey and Fayetteville SwampDogs teams or the Crown Coliseum that might seek membership.“

We meet at 12:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month,” Moore said, “and we have an educational program at each meeting that the host that particular month provides, something of interest to our industry. It’s a luncheon meeting. We network with each other. We share any news having to do with our industry, and we always have a guest speaker.”

The meetings are hosted at a different place each month, depending on who hosts it; for example, a full-service hotel may host it at its facilities, or a CVB or other group might hold it at a restaurant that has a private meeting room.

In addition to supporting tourism, FAHA works to improve the quality of life in the community. The organization hosts an annual charity golf tournament, held the last two years in September. Groups that have benefi ted from the tournament include the Fayetteville Police Foundation, The Cancer Center, the Stanton House, the Boys and Girls Club, Make a Wish Foundation, the Wounded Warrior Project and for the past few years, the Falcon Children’s Home and Kidsville News! Foundation. Funding comes from membership dues.

“If the CVB has a special group coming to Fayetteville and they may need some extra funding to provide some portion of the visit, they may come to FAHA and ask us to make a donation,” said Moore. “We don’t have anything set except for our annual golf tournament that we do every year. Everything else is as it comes along. We just made a large contribution to Mark Wilderman, operations manager/sales of the Fayetteville SwampDogs, who suffered burns [as a result of an explosion in the concession building of J.P. Riddle Stadium in May]. He’s a good friend of our industry. We made a contribution to him of $1,000 for the special clothing that he’s going to need for a while.”

Other charitable contributions include a $1,000 to the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival Scholarship Pageant, quarterly contributions to the USO and several others throughout the years. Monies raised from the golf tournament helped pay off the mortgage on the first Stanton Hospitality House of the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation, which provides accommodations to family members while loved ones receive treatment at area hospitals. The organization also works the Salvation Army Angel Tree at Cross Creek Mall as a group.

Moore noted that many of the things it does do not receive a lot of publicity.“A lot of people don’t know about our organization or what we’re about.”

For more information about FAHA, contact the organization at fay.area.hosp@gmail.com.

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