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Colonial Williamsburg Employee Layoff

 By Bill Geroux
Media General News Service

November 5, 2008



Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia’s most popular tourist attraction, announced plans today to lay off 140 of its roughly 3,000 employees because of slackening ticket sales, retail sales and visitation to its hotels and restaurants.

Another 140 jobs that are budgeted but currently unfilled will remain vacant, Cole G. Campbell, president and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, said in a written statement to all employees.

“Colonial Williamsburg has no alternative than to become a smaller and leaner organization,” Campbell wrote.

Even before the U.S. economy slipped into crisis eight weeks ago, Campbell said, Colonial Williamsburg was feeling the pinch of reduced visitation because of the mortgage crisis and rising energy prices.

He said the economic downturn appears likely to continue well into 2009.

“Given the current economic volatility, the pressures before us seem relentless and there remains considerable uncertainty as to when we can expect some relief.”

The foundation does not release visitation numbers until year’s end. Last year’s paid admission was 780,000, the third consecutive year of increases, foundation spokesman Tom Shrout said.

Shrout said the layoffs—which were announced to staff this morning—would be spread through the organization. He said they were tailored to try to minimize the impact on the tourist experience.

Shrout said Colonial Williamsburg will continue to schedule its full slate of tourist activities, including the Grand Illumination on Dec. 7.


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