Virginia to keep history and lovers in tourism branding efforts
Look for historic life experiences to be the mantra for marketing efforts by the state’s tourism agency next year. And everything will be wrapped in the state’s signature Virginia is for Lovers tagline.
Virginia is for beach lovers, craft beer lovers, wine lovers, mountain lovers, oyster lovers and outdoor lovers to name a few of the subsets of the tagline that will be used in promotion efforts, state officials said Tuesday.
During the last day of a three-day, VA-1 tourism summit at the Richmond Marriott Downtown that drew about 500 attendees, tourism officials used the occasion to spell out some of their strategies for 2016.
“The VTC’s mission is we want more people to come, stay longer, and spend more money. So how do we move this vision forward?” said Thad Smith, who heads up VTC’s Brand 2020 efforts. After shying away from the state’s strong history draw for a couple of years, Smith says the state decided to re-embrace it, because “we could spend a billion dollars, and that’s what people know us for. Let’s use history as a platform to get their attention and then tell the story. “
That story is becoming more diverse as Virginia is becoming known for its culinary options and 267 wineries, 120 craft breweries and 23 distilleries. To update the Virginia is for Lovers advertising slogan, a 46-year-old tagline that earned a place in the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame, the tourism agency will apply it to more labels.
It also plans to focus on family fun and weddings in promotional materials.
In an update on the state’s partnership marketing, officials said a program known as Drive Tourism assisted 23 localities in developing plans that broadened their product development.
For instance Floyd County, known for its music and arts scene, decided to also push its outdoor recreation opportunities and wants to be known as a cycling destination in five years.
Looking to tourism as an economic driver is important, said Caitlin Castainca. “You have to market your destination and manage it.”
In Bristol, known as the birthplace for country music, Castainca said the town has capitalized on its roots by putting a country music museum downtown that drew visitors from all 50 states and 21 countries in the first year. “These visitors created a need for two new hotels and more dining options. It’s a great example of how a tourism product can change a downtown.”
In 2014, the state's tourism industry generated $22.4 billion in overall spending, 216,000 jobs, and $1.5 billion in local and state revenue.