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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Area tourism development

Working as part of a marketing committee aiming to improve the positioning and success of Washington's Eastern Market public market, I have been thinking about tourism marketing some lately, especially as National Tourism Week was held recently, during the first week of May.

In the post-industrial economy, tourism is a major economic driver within local economies, especially in center cities.

-- "World Tourism Day: September 27th, 2013 (and the visitor experience)"  This piece, despite the title, sums up a lot of my thinking about tourism and cities and includes a lot of links to previous entries
-- "Saturday was World Tourism Day," includes discussion about what in Europe they call "city break" tourism, which also focuses on urban tourism

These more recent pieces focus on DC:

-- Parking under the National Mall should be part of an integrated approach to visitor services and management
-- A National Mall-focused heritage (replica) streetcar service to serve visitors is a way bigger idea than a parking garage under the Mall

1.  Visit Fairfax video.  While I am not happy about how Visit Fairfax, the destination marketing organization for Fairfax County, Virginia, "appropriates" DC in its latest promotion video, running on various online websites, it's a superbly well done video that makes Fairfax County look like an awesome place to visit, while putting forth the idea that you can get two things for one: DC and Fairfax.

The general website presents and organizes information about the County's attractions and offer straightforwardly and attractively..

Places like DC, and the city's convention and visitors bureau, Events DC, should take note. Not to mention, the Fairfax website's tagline, "Connect with America," resonates so much better than Events DC's #wegotthis

-- DC tourism website

Although I realize the Fairfax video is not dissimilar to the Pure Michigan campaign -- at least in terms of the voiceover and pacing.

-- Pure Michigan Detroit video -- it's a promotion video that depicts a city completely different from how it is otherwise portrayed in the national media (and perhaps in reality).

Thus far I haven't seen the Fairfax video on TV, but in fact that isn't likely, as it would be promoted outside of the DC market, although I have seen it online, especially on e-newspaper sites.

2.  The State of Maryland has an excellent tourism development and promotion department within the State Department of Business and Economic Development.

The Baltimore Business Journal has a piece ("Maryland tourism leaders shift focus from big events to big attractions") about the agency's next steps, as they move on from their promotions around the anniversary of the War of 1812, positioned in part around the creation of the Star Spangled Banner national anthem while Francis Scott Key was watching the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

Bill Pencek, formerly the director of the City of Baltimore Heritage Area, is the acting executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, and he's top notch. At the 2004 American Planning Association meeting, I went on a tour of Baltimore which he co-led, when he was director of the heritage area.

Conceptualizing and marketing DC as a "heritage area" could go a long way in terms of improving the city's tourism marketing and promotion.

Image from AARoads website, section on I-495, Capital Beltway.

3.  In any case, Maryland's visitor centers put DC to shame, although they probably need to consider putting one in the vicinity of National Harbor, the development on the Potomac River, across the Wilson Bridge, adjacent to I-495, the Capital Beltway, especially as it will become the site of the state's sixth casino, from MGM Grand.

This would complement the state's major visitor centers along I-95 before and after Baltimore, and near the Maryland-Delaware line (and of course, the network of visitor centers across the State of Maryland--some are delivered by the tourism department direcctly, but most are joint ventures with local tourism organizations).

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At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

any parking under the national Mall should be only for high capcity vehicles such as buses or service vehicles or for the handicapped- and not for individual SUV drivers too lazy , stubborn or too stupid to get on metro

At 5:52 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

don't agree. it's a staging point to get to, to remove cars from the city in general.


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