Does your website have a dedicated page for “Only-in-XXX” treasures?
We’re not talking T-shirts and mugs, but rather conversation pieces and keepsakes that provide cultural insights.
Play to your sense of place, pointing out where visitors will find unusual, interesting, , authentic, quality — and often famous — souvenirs and gift items while supporting local at the same time. (What’s missing? Only the ‘Made in Taiwan’ label.)
Discover Puerto Rico has a landing page called: Supporting Local Artisans and Makers: Where to Buy Locally Made Items. P.S. How cool is this vejigante mask?
Traditional crafts like these are inextricably part of the destination’s identity :
- In Charleston: intricate hand woven sweetgrass baskets
- In Nantucket: a ($$$) lightship basket purse
- In New Orleans: a voodoo doll
- In Austin: master boot maker for quality craftsmanship and fit
- In Chinatown: custom handwritten calligraphy
- In Sedona: an authentic willow hoop dream catcher
In Northern California Wine Country, Sonoma County Tourism launched a new video series, “Cultivated in Sonoma County,” to share engaging, often untold stories behind the destination’s local flavor in a meaningful, down-to-earth way. The series captures a first-person perspective of several notable makers who each describe the inspiration behind their community-driven products and services. The video series is featuring the first three of 10 stories: an Asian American Herbalist Erin Wilkins of Herbfolk; an LGBTQ+ winemaker Brad Beard of Mercury Wine; and Jenny and Mike Griffo, owners of Griffo Distillery.
Springfield (MO) Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched Ozarks Coffee Trail. Coffee lovers can check-in via smartphone for a chance for a free commemorative ceramic coffee mug. The program is modeled after the popular Ozarks Tap and Pour Craft Beverage Tour developed in 2018 with local breweries, wineries and distilleries.
Discover Monroe-West Monroe (LA) is hosting their first Pumpkin Decorating Contest. Participants are asked to decorate pumpkins with a theme to highlight something wonderful about Ouachita Parish by painting or carving at home, then bringing it in to the visitor center by mid-October for a small prize. (Hope they have well-ventilated a storage area.) Winner is announced at Halloween.
A new exhibition, “Barbie: A Cultural Icon” is opening in Las Vegas on Oct. 22, 2021. Accompanied by digital storytelling, about 150 vintage examples of the doll introduced by Mattel in 1959 are assembled for the ticketed show at The Shops at Crystal. The exhibition is going on tour from January 2022.
Visit Milwaukee has released a report on positive economic impact for three rounds of playoff games and NBA finals during the Milwaukee Bucks’ historic championship, putting the figure at $57.6 million in direct and indirect spending.
It was calculated using Destination International’s economic impact calculator for sports events.
The DMO took advantage of this spotlight by running a 30-second commercial, “Powered by the People,” in drive markets, deployed targeted email campaigns to travel media and sports meeting planners, plus paid and organic posts on social channels. Visit Milwaukee also partnered with the Milwaukee Bucks’ DJ Shawna to create a captivating presentation about the city as part of a sponsorship at the Connect trade show that brings together about 1,000 meeting planners from around the country.
From June 30, 2022, Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority is assuming management of four meeting facilities from ASM Global, including Reno-Sparks Convention Center, National Bowling Stadium, Reno Events Center, and Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.
Over each of the past five years, the facilities have sustained a loss of $3 million — rising to $6.58 million last year — in addition to costing RSCVB $200,000 annually in payments for outside management. The RSCVA intends to hire 81 staff to focus on the facilities, more than doubling the current staffing levels.
American Queen Voyages, a new company formed from the merger of Miami-based Victory Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Co., is opening a new headquarters in Fort Lauderdale. The move creates 100 jobs in sales, marketing and operations for the group of seven vessels, growing to eight in 2023. Some staff will relocate from New Albany, Indiana.
“South Florida is home to thousands of cruise jobs from Miami-area industry giants including Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line. The region also serves as the base of operations for Virgin Voyages, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection and the U.S. headquarters of MSC Cruises. Windstar Cruises in Seattle also announced it will move its headquarters to the region. PortMiami and Port Everglades were the No. 1 and No. 3 passenger ports in the world ahead of the pandemic,” reports South Florida Business Journal.
Update: Phase one of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center is now open, featuring 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space – that’s about six football fields.
Visit Florida will be asking lawmakers to fund the organization at $75 million. During the upcoming legislative session, the agency will also seek an extension to its Oct. 1, 2023 sunset date.
For the current fiscal year, which started July 1, lawmakers approved $50 million in state money for tourism marketing, the same as in fiscal year 2020-2021. An additional $25 million came through federal stimulus programs.
Visit Rochester (NY) has a fresh, new website in time for fall. Now live, it’s built in partnership with Simpleview.
Visit Cheyenne and the local city council have approved a Memorandum of Understanding to create a railroad visitor center. The current proposal calls for a line of rail cars to be featured at the visitor center, which is near the historic former Union Pacific depot downtown. Inside the refurbished carriages, there’d be shops, boutiques, a restaurant and more.
Domenic Bravo, president and CEO of Visit Cheyenne, said he agrees with the optimism that this will be a major attraction for the city, as reported by Wyoming News. He is hopeful construction will start as soon as next summer.
More from Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park, the nation’s first, turns 150 next year. Visitors from around the world are expected to make a date with the remarkable wilderness landscapes in the 2.2-million-acre park (that’s more than 10 times the size of New York City…all five boroughs!) that typically attracts four million+ annually.
Tourism Ireland is investing big — to the tune of $4.9 million through Jan. 14, 2022 — in a new campaign called Green Button. The multimedia campaign targeting U.S. travelers, encourages them to press the Green Button to book a vacation to Ireland in the coming months. Obviously, green means “go” and is associated with the Emerald Isle.
The DMO seeks to attain 30 million impressions and engage audiences with the highest potential to travel to Ireland via broadcast and streaming television (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Wash DC and San Francisco. Ads will also be seen on select streaming services: Hulu, Warner Media and Sling.
Further programming includes online video and display, social media, rich media and strategic media partnerships via platforms and publications: YoTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Travelzoo, Tripadvisor, and Hearst Media Elle, Esquire, Town & Country). This digital program will deliver 164 million ad views, according to Tourism Ireland. Ten “top-tier” influencers will be hosted in the coming months as well.