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Every few months another one of these "vacation deprivation" studies comes out and promptly gets picked up as Science! by the same tourism boards that commissioned it. The term seems to go back to a contest for free hotel rooms that Hyatt ran in the mid-1990s, and it's been circulating as this kind of pseudo-scientific fake medical term ever since.
The latest version puts everything in terms of economic productivity, because that's what people care about right now. If people cared about something else, that's what vacations would be good for. And so, we are stuck with this drivel:
Before "The Wire," Edgar Allan Poe held a monopoly on mapping the scary streets of Baltimore. Now Charm City is repaying the favor by holding a morbid bicentennial only a true Poe fan could love.
The writer will be lying in state at the Poe House and Museum (203 Amity St.) on October 7 from noon to 11PM for admirers to come pay their last respects. Show off your recitatory chops at a candlelit vigil on October 8 at midnight at the Westminster Graveyard (519 West Fayette St.), then don your dress blacks for the October 11 funeral procession from Amity House to Westminster. Creepy!
Although we’ve never understood what was so lovable about the state, apparently Virginia's motto is something to swoon over. The slogan Virginia is for Lovers is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, which easily makes it the country’s longest running state tourism tagline. It’s so successful that it has the chance to gain a spot on the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame.
Besides critical acclaim, the slogan also helps attract a lot of cash into the state. Somehow they can quantify the lovers line, as they report that tourism brings in $19 billion per year. It also supports over 200,000 jobs and gets state and local communities some nice stuff with over a billion dollars in tax revenue. We need to figure out how to get a slice of all this tourism cash action; how does "Jaunted is For Lovers" grab you?
Fresh from the inbox, the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is launching a new advertising blitz aimed at luring potential visitors from the U.S. with a message of freedom and reinvention. The idea of the "You, Unscripted" campaign - which includes TV, magazine, and Web spots - is that visitors to the USVI can have unique experiences that help them establish a new identity while on vacation, casting off old demons and rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the quotidian, or something. It's an updated version of a familiar message, but it could be especially resonant these days now that most Americans are stressed out and on the brink of unemployment. And as for the "unscripted" part, that might be a subtle way of saying that there's more to do in St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix than drink yourself into a stupor in some all-inclusive resort. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Sick and tired of Americans traveling abroad for culture, food and activity when the good old homeland has it too, the United States has they launched a new website in hopes of keeping all those summer vacation dollars in the nifty fifty: DiscoverAmerica.com. Previously, they’ve used the “discover” theme to attract visitors from overseas, but this new site is focused on those keeping it local this year, for better or for worse.
All the juicy details of America’s finest offerings can be found through integration with the National Park Service, and Google Maps will help you plan a city-to-city road trip. Once you’ve found your dream vacation or experience here at home, the site will be happy to help you spend your hard earned cash through links to all the usual travel booking sites.
Tourism Marketing / Tourism Boards / Tourism Board Travel / Comedy / Lewis Black / Recession Travel / → All Tags
Because of their overwhelming dependence on tourism, the islands of the Caribbean have been hit especially hard by the latest global economic bummer. I read in the Economist this morning that the number of visitors is likely to fall by up to a third, a forecast that has prompted the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island to lay off 800 workers and caused investors to pull out of several planned multi-billion-dollar resort complexes. Usually in a business downturn, companies cut their marketing budgets, but there are always a few radicals that double down instead, gunning for visibility in a diminished field. Aruba is doubling down in this recession with a big advertising push that features the grouchy comedian and satirist Lewis Black, and it just might work.
The tourism board down in New Zealand is determined to be modern and they've done a pretty good job with their newest idea. The Have Your Say campaign has a mobile recording studio traveling around the whole country recording YouTube videos so tourists can tell their friends and family how amazing New Zealand is.
The Kiwis are hoping this combination of social media and word of mouth marketing gets a whole bunch of positive messages out to the world about why everybody should visit the country. What you can actually see so far is a bunch of camera-shy travelers not really knowing what to say, but it is entertaining in a weird kind of way.
The mobile studio is in Auckland now and after Christmas will spend four months stopping in 40 different locations around New Zealand. Keep an eye out for it if you're traveling in Kiwi land in early 2009, because we're dying to see how embarrassing your message home can be.
· Pure NZ Have Your Say [Official Site]
· Tourism Radio is Watching Your Every Move in New Zealand [Jaunted]
· New Zealand Travel coverage [Jaunted]
And next on our list of unlikely places to spend Christmas … after you've soaked up the Christmas soul of Seoul you can move on to Hong Kong. They're putting on their annual Winterfest that's meant to encourage us all to spend the Christmas season spending Hong Kong dollars in all their great shopping malls.
Well, that's not exactly what they're saying. The Hong Kong Tourism Board wants us to see their ten-story high Christmas tree and perhaps best of all, get into the Christmas carol singing. Spread across various parts of Hong Kong, it sounds like you won't be able to turn around without tripping over a carol singer and they'll also be on open-air buses, trams and trucks.
Do you ever get the feeling these tourist boards might just be conning us by hyping the Christmas spirit of their city? Whatever. We're suckers for a good bit of Christmas spirit so we'll sing along if a Hong Kong caroler comes close.
Now that Australia, The Movie has been open a week or so to a pretty lukewarm reception, Australia, The Country might be a bit disappointed that they decided to do so much tourism board promotion tied to the film. This will not be to Oz what Lord of the Rings was to New Zealand, it seems.
That hasn't stopped a couple of Australian states jumping on the bandwagon. First off South Australia got you to make your version of South Australia, The Movie.
And now the breakaway island of Tasmania has gotten cheeky about it. They've put out three spoof promos of "Tasmania, The Movie" with dramatic voice-overs about a man who dared "to take his wife on vacation." We've got a feeling these short vids are probably a lot more enjoyable than the 165 minutes of the real thing, but please don't get the wrong idea. We still like Australia, The Country.
· Tasmania the Movie [Official Site]
· Movie Mischief: Tassie In Grab for Limelight [SMH]
· First Came Australia, Now There's South Australia, The Movie [Jaunted]
· Australia, The Movie coverage [Jaunted]
They've even got earthquake tourism started with an earthquake relic park now open in Qingchuan County, the hardest hit region. Instead of six villages they've now got 36 lakes in this area; tourists can visit for free although they're considered charging in the future.
As far as tourism is concerned, Sichuan officials were pretty pleased that no World Heritage Sites were seriously damaged--they also breathed a big sigh of relief that none of the 55,000 foreign tourists there at the time were killed. (We might point out that 88,000 Chinese people were, but apparently that's not on the agenda of tourism officials.) And as odd as it might be, they're probably expecting a boost in tourist numbers now that we all know where kung pao chicken actually comes from.
[Photo: Shanghai Daily]
Marketers at the tourism board of Oman keep talking up the country in a way that makes us want to go there, and the latest attraction is the Daymaniyat Islands, a bit more than an hour by boat from Muscat.
We already knew that sea turtles are a big deal in Oman, but apparently near the Daymaniyats you can also find hawksbill turtles, clown fish, stingray, moray eels and barracuda. With dive tourism just starting up the locals are advocating "hands-off" interaction with the local wildlife:
Most notably with moray eels, sea snakes and sharks that inhabit the waters (though the sharks do not attack humans).
No wonder Oman has such great tourism potential--they've even trained their sharks not to eat us. We're on our way with our tanks and flippers.
Seems Cartagena isn't the only place trying to reinvent its image. The whole of Colombia has been working its "Colombia es Pasión" slogan since 2004, and it's starting to pay dividends with more tourism and foreign investment.
The slogan and associated campaign--which includes licensing a logo to companies as diverse as chicken restaurants and Avianca airlines--cost Colombia just $5 million, a paltry sum in the world of national branding, something that's been a niche industry since 1996.
Simon Anholt, who coined the phrase "national brand," says there's more to the concept than just a snazzy logo and a catch phrase:
Rebranding requires sweeping societal transformations, he says, not just clever public relations. He says South Africa rebranded when it ended apartheid; Ireland when it became a prosperous nation, rather than a mass producer of immigrants; Slovenia when it embraced democracy, joined the European Union and showed that a historically unstable part of Eastern European could be different.
If a country does undertake fundamental changes, marketing can complement them, Mr. Anholt acknowledges.
Which means if tourism is on the rise in Colombia, it's not so much because of a new slogan--but because the country's finally getting back on its feet.