INTERNATIONAL: US tourist boards to launch 'patriotic' PR campaigns

WASHINGTON: Tourism officials in Washington DC and California are

launching major PR drives in a bid to bring back tourists following

steep declines in visitor numbers since the 11 September attacks.



The California Division of Tourism is launching a £3.4m marketing

and PR campaign to encourage its own residents to travel within the

state.



California Governor Gray Davis announced the California tourist PR

campaign at San Francisco tourist attraction Fisherman's Wharf, where

attendance has dropped by more than 50 per cent in recent weeks.



He said it was an act of 'modern-day patriotism' to add money to the

economy through travel.



Of the 300 million people who travelled for business or leisure in

California last year, 245 million were state residents.



Tourism bosses hope to reverse the slump by refocusing campaigns to

target the 'drive market' group with destination ideas and

incentives.



The surrounding states of Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon will also be

targeted.



Currently, California spends about £406,000 annually on PR.



In Washington, Burson-Marsteller has been retained by the Washington DC

Convention & Tourism Corporation (CTC) to help bring tourists back to

the city.



B-M was first called in shortly after the terrorist attacks to work on

short and long-term messaging.



It will continue to support the CTC at least until the end of the year

as part of the group's current team consisting of PROs from its in-house

division, and Eisner Communications, which is handling advertising.



The team will be augmented by Vicky Isley, who has joined the CTC as

director of marketing and communications from Florida's Tampa Bay

Convention and Visitors Bureau.



The multi-million pound promotional programme aims to be sensitive to

prevailing sentiment in the US.



CTC spokesman Brain Ullman said: 'It is not appropriate for a hard sell.

It will be a very inspiring, patriotic message.'



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