Promoting leisure travel to North Carolina will be a key goal of the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, who announced the launch of its new marketing campaign.
The new messaging strategy and marketing campaign will help differentiate the state by celebrating iconic North Carolina experiences. The campaign supports the Division’s efforts to increase visitation and encourage longer stays, and as a result, benefit what has become one of North Carolina’s most vital industries, the Department says.
The travel and tourism industry directly employs 185,500 state residents and accounts for $1.5 billion in state and local tax revenues. Research has also shown that every dollar the Division invests in statewide tourism advertising produces a return of $10 in new state tax revenues alone. On average, the industry saves every North Carolina family nearly $400 a year in taxes.
The “Deeper Connections” strategy is shaping content and messaging throughout the Division’s marketing efforts, including social media and the VisitNC.com family of websites that attracted nearly 4 million web visits in 2011.
A mix of digital and print advertising, complemented by comprehensive media relations and social media efforts, will continue to grow interest in North Carolina as a leisure destination and attract prospective travelers to VisitNC.com.
For fiscal year 2012-2013, the Division will invest approximately 60 percent of its planned $3 million core advertising budget in digital media to align with audiences increasingly looking for travel planning inspiration and information online.
“While North Carolina ranks sixth among the 50 states in visitation, the state’s marketing budget ranks only 27th, and ninth among our peer Southern states,” said Wit Tuttell, director of tourism marketing for the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development. “This funding disadvantage requires the marketing efforts to be even more focused, cost-effective and persuasive."