Campaign Promotes In-State Travel
The N.C. Division of Tourism has re-launched its multi-media program to boost in-state visitation in response to rising gas prices and a changing economy.
North Carolinians historically represent one third of the state's visitors with nearly two thirds of total visitors coming from drive markets in a radius reaching the Atlanta and Washington, D.C. metro areas.
"Our goal is to strengthen the state's tourism industry by reminding North Carolinians of the fuel-saving vacation alternatives that lie within a short drive of their homes," said Lynn Minges, executive director of the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development. "We always work hard to boost in-state travel, but this year we are putting even more effort into local and regional markets. Our research shows that this is a crucial time to reach out and motivate people to travel this summer."
While also monitoring national research panels, the division recently conducted a telephone survey of 400 North Carolina residents to further assess prospects for summer travel. Among the findings:
When compared to 2007, North Carolinians do not appear to be reducing their plans to travel within the state for a weekend or longer, but do appear to be planning less travel out of state, less travel by air and fewer weeklong vacations to any destination.
While this may be an encouraging sign for resident travel, this also supports concerns regarding inbound travel from out-of-state markets.
Overall, nearly half expect to travel the same amount this summer as last year; 36 percent said they will travel less and 15 percent will travel more.
Among the 36 percent who said they would travel less this summer, more than half cited gas prices as a primary reason.
Nearly 80 percent of all respondents said the price of gas will have some impact on their summer travel plans and the actions most likely to be taken as a result of higher gas prices include:
Spending less on vacation shopping (69 percent)
Taking fewer vacation trips (61 percent)
Spending less on meals/ entertainment (53 percent)
Traveling a shorter distance for vacation than usual (52 percent)
Nearly two thirds of respondents plan to take an overnight summer trip in North Carolina.
To view a complete copy of the research findings, go to www. nccommerce.com/en/TourismServices/PromoteTravelAndTourismIndustry/TourismResearch.
The Division of Tourism is taking several steps to increase its travel marketing to potential visitors within the state or within easy driving distance of the state. The updated program includes:
New print, radio, television and online creations for instate promotional efforts with the North Carolina Press Foundation and the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters will remind residents they don't have to travel far for a great vacation or getaway. Last year's $180,000 investment in this partnership yielded more than $3 million in placements.
The division will increase its summer presence in important and competitive neighbor markets including the Atlanta and Washington, D.C., metro areas. Radio spots debuted in these markets in June. Online advertising and e-blasts are scheduled for North Carolina and neighbor states.
Public relations efforts include additional North Carolina-themed press releases as well as custom pitching to in-state and regional editors and feature writers for print, online and broadcast media.
For updates on what's happening in local markets across the state (updated at least twice weekly), visit "partner news" on the VisitNC.com press room at www.visitnc.com/press_room_travelpartnernews.asp.
Promotion of the division's new golf travel site, golf.visitnc.com, included a recently completed radio media tour of 16 markets that reached many North Carolina and close-in markets. The site also includes golf travel packages and discounts. (www.golf.visitnc.com/search_results.php?SearchType=Offers)
Fun summer escapes and popular itineraries are featured on VisitNC.com. Traffic to VisitNC.com has set monthly records three consecutive months beginning in March. www.visitnc.com/what_to_do_itineraries.asp
Collaborative media relations campaign with the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council continues to spark visits to wineries and nearby accommodations and attractions. Almost every North Carolina resident lives within 100 miles of a winery. The division is inviting residents to pack a picnic and explore. www.visitncwine. com
"We are working with every media outlet in the state to help tell the story of North Carolina's rich travel experiences," Minges said. "If you live in North Carolina and you are looking for a great place to take your vacation, you're there."
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