Grassroots Destination Marketing Initiatives

Here are some fresh & interesting grassroots marketing initiatives, to give us some food for thought:

Ireland & Food Tourism Development

Fáilte Ireland has launched a search for 12 “food champions” who will build Ireland’s reputation as a food tourism destination.

The tourism body is encouraging the public to nominate people with “a resounding passion and belief in Irish food, together with a commitment and drive to actively influence and shape the future of Irish cuisine and food tourism in their region”.

Nominees could include people who own or run restaurants or other food service business, chefs and food producers.

Once selected, the 12 people will travel to Prince Edward County in Canada on a fact- finding mission. This region has become a food tourism destination because of initiatives like the Prince Edward County Taste Trail. When the group returns home, they will work with their local communities to help:

  • Build Ireland’s food tourism reputation and encourage visitors to stop, spend and stay longer
  • Develop networks & relationships within local business, organisations and regional stakeholders
  • Enhance regional knowledge base & develop engaging food experiences
  • Utilise food tourism as an economic development strategy


Canada & its Millions of Directors

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has launched a new initiative inviting Canadians to submit videos highlighting Canada as a tourism destination.

The 35 Million Directors project aims to collect hundreds of videos shot by amateur filmmakers that showcase the best Canadian tourism destinations, activities and events.

The entries, uploaded on a dedicated new website, will be assessed by a panel of expert judges, before being edited into a series of promotional advertisements to encourage international travel to Canada. Professional directors will craft the public’s narratives into a grassroots campaign highlighting the country and its tourism offerings.

Prizes will be awarded to winning entries, and the final film will premiere at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada Congress event in November before being broadcast on national television and the web.


Georgia Tourism & the SmackDown Challenge

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) launched a Challenge with which Georgia tourism professionals are encouraged to assemble teams to work together on a creative  proposal that will focus on Georgia residents.

The Smacktown Challenge was a statewide competition between tourism organizations, attractions, and travel partners and hosted by GDEcD. Each competitor submitted a proposal outlining a tourism marketing campaign for 2013 that will promote inner-state travel for all communities across Georgia. GDEcD will implement a version of the proposed plan in 2013.

It was recently announced that Greater Rome Convention & Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) was the team to win it. Check out their proposal in this video:

Key objectives for the proposals were to: Provide measurable economic impact to Georgia during the month(s) of the promotion in 2013 by encouraging and inspiring Georgia residents to stay in-state and spend more money during February and/or August; Generate qualified leads for Georgia Tourism Partners; Drive measurable results to include web site hits, travel guide requests, media attention, event attendance numbers, hotel stays, etc.; The campaign should contain some type of control mechanism to ensure that participants are indeed Georgia residents.


Study Snapshot: Key Market Travel Spending Trends 2012

Global travel spending is on the rise, building momentum toward pre-recession levels, according to Visa’s 2011 Travel Snapshot.

The recently released report highlights key spend insights from its account holders traveling to and from the United StatesCanadaMexico and Brazil. Travelers from the United States increased tourism spend by 7 percent, those from Canada by 11 percent, and Mexico by 19 percent. Most notably, travelers from Brazil increased international travel spend on their Visa accounts by 32 percent in 2011 – 43 percent of which was in the United States.

Brazil proves to be a formidable contributor to the global tourism economy, increasing outbound spend by 32 percent.

Key Markets Spending Trends

Brazil: While the United States remains the top destination of choice for Visa account holders from Brazil, most European nations recognized double digit increases in travel spend by Brazilian Visa account holders in 2011. Spending by Brazilian Visa account holders increased by 30 percent in France, 44 percent in Italy and 41 percent in the United Kingdom.

United States: Brazil and China proved to be significant corridors for travel to the United States. Visa account holders from Brazil increased spend on travel to the United States by 41 percent, from $1.9 billion in 2010 to $2.7 billion in 2011, edging out the U.K. as the second highest total contributor to U.S. tourism revenue. Account holders from China increased travel spend within the United States by 61 percent, from $741 million in 2010 to $942 million in 2011. Similarly, account holders from the United States increased travel spend in China by 27 percent, from $741 million in 2010 to $941 million in 2011.

Canada: While Visa account holders from the United States ($3.5 billion), France ($351 million) and the United Kingdom ($348 million) remained the top three contributors to Canadian tourism, Visa account holders from China had one of the most significant increases with a 41 percent increase year over year, from $229 million in 2010 to $321 million in 2011.

Mexico: Visa account holders increased spending in Mexico by six percent in 2011. While Russian account holders increased travel spending in Mexico by 73 percent, travelers from South America also showed more interest in Mexico with Argentina (+58 percent), Brazil (+56 percent), Peru (+30 percent) and Colombia (+30 percent) following Russia with the greatest increases in travel spend to Mexico in 2011.

Destination BrandWatch: Digital Campaigns from Tourism Australia, Canada & VisitBritain

Tourism Australia teams up with YouTube to promote Australia

Tourism Australia has teamed up with Google and YouTube in an innovative new digital marketing campaign, which will showcase many of Australia’s most iconic visitor attractions to an international online audience of millions.

Making Tracks will see four international musicians from the US (two), the UK and Taiwan, who have recently been selected to take part in YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011, flown to Australia where they will each team up with one of Australia’s most promising musicians and take part in their very own journey Down Under.

The journeys, and the musical compilations which come out of them, will be filmed and later broadcast on YouTube and via Tourism Australia’s digital and social media channels.  Between them, the musical pairings will travel to every State and Territory and participate in a range of Australian experiences, including surfing at Bondi beach, a scenic flight over Uluru, an ocean walk on Kangaroo Island, a helicopter flight over the Twelve Apostles, journeying across the Western Wilderness in Tasmania, hot air ballooning over Canberra and a visit to the Sunshine Coast.

The campaign is the latest push in Tourism Australia’s highly successful digital strategy, highlights of which include a YouTube-branded channel and the recent There’s nothing like Australia marketing campaign, which has encouraged thousands of people around the world to share their favourite Australian experience.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy believes that the creative collaboration with YouTube will enable Tourism Australia to reach new markets by focusing on music and the arts.

“Making Tracks is Australia’s own magical musical mystery tour and will open up some of Australia’s most iconic destinations and experiences to a huge, global online audience. I’m sure the experience will prove inspiring to all the musicians taking part. What better way to showcase Australia’s music, arts and culture than through these unique and highly personalised musical road trips through our great country.”



Canada Tourist Board uses QR barcodes for Facebook campaign

The Canadian Tourism Commission is adding QR barcodes to their current advertising to promote a Facebook social media campaign.

The barcodes will give smartphone users a convenient link from CTC ads direct to the board’s website. QR barcodes allow people to use their camera and an app to read the code and the programme takes them to the CTC homepage.

This is not the first advertisement to use QR barcodes, it has already been adopted by brands like Calvin Klein. The Canadian Tourism Commission will be using the QR codes to help promote a social media competition on their Facebook page.

“We are excited about the opportunity to spread the Canada message wider than ever before since our re-organisation, and we certainly hope that all of us who have a vested interest in Canada’s tourism growth will benefit from this investment,” said Rupert Peters, managing director of Canadian Tourism Commission, London office.


VisitBritain Develop Inspirational TV Channel in Time for Royal Wedding and 2012 Olympic Games

VisitBritain, the national tourism agency has formed an innovative partnership with Geocast TV to develop, host and manage its new media site: VisitBritain TV.

Geocast TV is a specialist production company working with a range of digital media including film. Its brief is to develop a video and streaming media website which promotes British people and events, enabling the millions of overseas tourists who come to Britain to get the most out of their visit.

Justin Reid, Head of Digital and Social Media at VisitBritain said, “The Royal Wedding this year and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 will provide unprecedented media exposure all around the world. We want to ensure we cater for the information needs and interests of both new visitors who are inspired to come to Britain for the first time and people who know us well and want to get under our skin more.

“As millions of people research ideas for holidays and days out online, we’ll be bringing them an enhanced media experience featuring news from around the country, live events, travel reports and feature programmes.”

Richard Day, Director, Geocast TV said, “We are delighted to be working with VisitBritain at this extremely exciting time. VisitBritain TV showcases Britain at its best, featuring events and programmes that will inspire people to explore more of the country. Our experienced production team will be delivering high quality programming for the site every week, enabling people to anticipate and plan their leisure itineraries.” Have a look at VisitBritainTV yourself now-


Using Celebrities for Destination Marketing: 9+1 celebrity tourism campaigns

Many DMOs are using celebrities to promote their destinations both domestically & internationally. While asking from a celebrity to join a tourism campaign might be considered as a rather expensive option, it still seems that it is one of the best choices to get marketing ROI and spread the word about your destination’s brand to much wider audiences that the typical tourism campaigns. However, linking your destination’s brand with just one single person might be quite risky sometimes since you are relying on the demographic reach of each celebrity and the brand values that he/she is associated with (not just as a movie star or a sports idol but also with his choices in his personal life). The point is that when a celebrity lends their voice, a larger audience tends to listen.

Lets us go through 9 +1 popular celebrity tourism campaigns and feel free to comment on your favorite one.

10. Bollywood King Akshay Kumar as a Canadian tourism ambassador to India – Canada Tourism Comission 2010

9. Friends of Australia – Tourism Australia 2010

8.”You Gotta Be Here”  (Kim Cattrall, Steve Nash, Sarah McLachlan and Michael J. Fox) – British Columbia/Canada 2010

7.  ‘Fall in Love with Louisiana All Over Again’ –

6. ”California Calling” (Pamela Anderson) – Visit California 2009

5. ”My Houston” – (ZZ Top) – Visit Houston Texas 2009

4. Find Yourself Here (California’s new TV Ad with Beck’s, Rob Lowe and Arnold Schwarzenegger) Visit California 2009

4. “Once you Go, you Know” (Usain Bolt Pose) Jamaican Tourism Board – 2010

3. “Come and say G’day” (or else Paul Hogan’s famous “Shrimp on the barbie” quote – Australia Tourism Commission 1984

2. ”Just ask the Locals” – nycgo 2008

and for the Number One I vote for a campaign which surprisingly is not produced by a DMO but inspires you the most.

Please enjoy Luis Vuitton’s Journeys & Core Values  campaigns.

Classy, Emotional, Inspiring – exactly what someone needs to start planning his/her next trip.

London by keith Richards

Paris by Catherine Deneuve

Madrid – Pele – Maradona – Zidane

Buenos Aires – Louis Vuitton Core Values Ad Campaign: The Coppolas

Bahamas – Louis Vuitton Core Values Ad Campaign: Sean Connery

Please take a moment to read Petra Glover’s article on the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management titled ”Celebrity Endorsement in Tourism Advertising: Effects on Destination Image

City Tourism directors have good humor!

Now that Vancouver is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, these are some questions people from all over the world are asking. Believe it or not these  questions about Canada were posted on an International Tourism Website. Obviously the answers are a joke; but the questions were really asked!

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? ( England )
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.
Q: Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? ( USA)
A: Depends on how much you’ve been drinking.
Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto – can I follow the Railroad tracks? ( Sweden )
A: Sure, it’s only four thousand miles, take lots of water.
Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada ? ( Sweden )
A: So it’s true what they say about Swedes.
Q: Are there any ATM’s (cash machines) in Canada ? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto , Vancouver , Edmonton and Halifax ? (England )
A: No, but you’d better bring a few extra furs for trading purposes.
Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada ? ( USA )
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big country to your North … oh, forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked
Q: Which direction is North in Canada ? ( USA )
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we’ll send the rest of the directions…
Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada ? ( England )
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.
Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys’ Choir schedule? ( USA )
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is… oh, forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary , straight after the hippo races. Come naked.
Q: Do you have perfume in Canada ? ( Germany )
A: No, WE don’t stink.
Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Where can I sell it in Canada ? ( USA )
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.
Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? ( Italy )
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.
Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada ? ( USA )
A: Only at Thanksgiving.
Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? ( Germany )
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.
Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada , but I forget its name. It’s a kind of big horse with horns. (USA )
A: It’s called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.
Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? ( USA )
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Presentation: Destination Marketing Accreditation Program

The Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) has reached a major milestone and now has more than 100 destination marketing organizations (DMOs) that have earned accreditation. Developed by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), this industry-wide accreditation program is designed to recognize DMOs that meet or exceed industry standards.

DMAP has accredited DMOs throughout the United States (35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico), Canada, and Europe. The latest DMOs to achieve it are:

• Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau (New York)
• Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau (Wisconsin)
• LA Inc. (California)
• Lisle Convention & Visitors Bureau (Illinois)
• Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Corporation (Alabama)
• New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (Louisiana)
• Porter County Convention, Recreation & Visitors Commission (Indiana)
• Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau (New York)
• Tourism Saskatoon (Canada)

To become accredited a DMO must successfully complete a rigorous application process, requiring evidence of compliance with 54 mandatory standards and 33 voluntary standards. The standards set by DMAP cover a wide variety of topics including governance, finance, management, human resources, technology, visitor services, group services, sales, communications, membership, brand management, destination development, research/market intelligence, innovation, and stakeholder relationships.

For more information visit DMAI’s special website section for DMAP, read the DMAP web brochure or watch the DMAP Video Presentation