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Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Tourism Marketing and DC

Still haven't received an answer to my query a couple weeks ago to the Washington Convention and Tourism Corporation about a master tourism development and marketing plan. Although they do have some visitor studies available online (see the link under Tourism Resources in the right sidebar).

2. This article, "Tourism magazine distributed in state visitor centers" from the New Mexico Business Weekly again makes me think that the local history story can be far better defined and marketed than it is currently. And it needs to be.

Most states produce magazines such as the one produced by New Mexico. But DC has a marketing dilemma as I have discussed a lot--it's "top of mind" marketing image is of the National-Federal Experience, while those of us that focus on local history think we have a great story to tell about local resources.

While it is true that the cultural tourist spends more money and time when traveling, Washington has an almost unique tourism-visitor situation where the National Experience crowds out the local story and this becomes a real marketing development dilemma. (This might be a dilemma shared by other National Capital Cities that experience a lot of in-country visitation.)

reaganThe people watching the passing of Ronald Reagan's funeral caisson probably don't care too much about neighborhood-based history and trails. (AP photo.)

3. Even though the WCTC, the people who did the City Museum, etc., are looking into creating a DC Visitor Center, which could better help visitors and also highlight the local story vis-a-vis the national story, I am not holding my breath in terms of success. Business as usual in the city seems to keep things pretty close to the chest, and best practices and innovation are not terms that seem to be big here.

A few weeks ago I did go to the Baltimore Visitor Center and I meant to write about it (I did a little in my "transit roundup" a few weeks ago). The 12 minute movie was good although it had some problems, and similar productions in DC would have to be available in multiple languages. They had a tremendous amount of information available to people and most of the staff seemed somewhat knowledgeable, although as I mentioned before, they could have done a better job highlighting transit options for getting around.

Baltimore_VisitorCtrThe Baltimore Visitor Center is located on the Inner Harbor, and opened in April 2004.

The Baltimore Business Journal reports in "Campaign targets D.C. tourists," that "Charm City plans to clobber the nation's capital this summer. And no, this has nothing to do with baseball. ...

This month, the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA) is launching a $250,000 marketing initiative, dubbed "Baltimore's Super-Stuffed Summer," that will exclusively target residents in Washington, D.C., said Margot Amelia, vice president of marketing. The promotions, which will run through August, will include displays in the subway and bus shelters and print advertisements in the Washington Post. BACVA will also sponsor radio traffic reports.

Instead of spreading its dollars across several cities, as it has in years past, the agency is concentrating its money on a single region that accounts for one-quarter of Baltimore's visitors. "There's a big push to drive tourism in the summer" as the city celebrates new and expanded attractions, said Brian Hall, president of GKV Communications, BACVA's advertising agency of record. These include the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, which opens June 25, and Sports Legends at Camden Yards, which opened last month. " ...

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This market is very competitive and as I always say, to stay the same is to fall behind, because (the best of) your competition is constantly changing and improving.

Check out the tourism development strategy for Johannesburg, South Africa.

Where is the equivalent document for DC?

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