BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Baja California hired Allison & Partners as its US AOR following a competitive RFP process that began in February.
Effective August 31, the year-long contract represents the state's first joint PR endeavor to improve its image among American tourists. Its five major cities, including Tijuana, previously handled domestic and US PR individually.
“We're ready to get back the tourism we lost during a very difficult year,” said Jahdiel Vargas, CEO of the Tijuana Conventions and Visitors Bureau, referring to the global economic crisis, H1N1, and Mexico's war against crime.
“We needed to do something fast,” he added. “We were thinking of putting together an advertising campaign, but we decided we needed to reconnect with our market first.”
The review, which began in February, involved eight firms, which were narrowed down to Fleishman-Hillard, Tijuana's domestic agency, and Allison & Partners.
The San Diego Union-Tribute first reported that the $300,000 budget will allow $100,000 for social media and $100,000 for journalist trip expenses.
The agency's goals will be to correct safety misperceptions about the state and encourage American tourists to revisit its five major border cities, explained Tim Wheatcroft, MD in Allison & Partners' San Diego office.
The firm will initially promote the cities as driving destinations for Southwestern regions such as Southern California and Arizona, but will also target nationwide travel and consumer media “to get the story out to a wider audience,” promoting attractions such as food, wine, tequila, and action sports.
Allison & Partners' other travel and tourism clients include Best Western hotels, Aramark Parks and Destinations, and Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas and San Diego.