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.


New Tourism Campaigns & Social Media for Every Season

“Love Every Second of Sydney” User Generated Content Winter Campaign

Aiming to build its winter numbers and reach 2020 overnight visitor targets, Destination NSW has just launched a new campaign telling Aussies and Kiwis they’ll ‘Love every second of Sydney’.

The campaign was designed to emit a romantic factor behind Sydney while showcasing the wide range of events running throughout the city during the colder season.

Utilising ‘first time’ initiatives, the campaign includes digital and social media promotion including a first ever eight page fold out in the New Zealand Herald as well as tram wraps in Melbourne, bus sign in Auckland and light projections in Brisbane and Auckland.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase, said the campaign theme captures what research has shown people want in short breaks and weekends away: exciting, vibrant experiences packed into every second. She said the Group was also making an increased effort in combining its events with tourism promoting relevant shows.

This campaign will be the first time consumer generated content will be uploaded onto some of the key outdoor sites in Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. Social media will play a key role in the campaign with travellers urged to “Capture the Perfect Sydney Second” and share their favourite Sydney memories online, where their photos are displayed in a second by second timeline as well as play a type of ‘pass the parcel’ game on Facebook that will see fans win prizes every now and then.


Visit Florida New Summer Social Media Campaign

Visit Florida which recently announced an increased number of visitors and visitor spending for the first quarter of this year, launched its newest social media-based campaign to increase destination awareness as a summer vacation destination.

The campaign features “Florida’s Three for Free Giveaway” sweepstakes, where participants from the U.S can enter to win a grand prize of three personally selected Florida vacation packages. The five-week campaign, which is expected to garner more than 425 million impressions, kicks off with targeted Facebook and Twitter ad buys. Visit Florida worked closely with the two social media giants to develop a highly-defined target audience that includes families and couples throughout the North and Southeast who are interested in summer drive travel. As a way to continue the campaign’s momentum, house ads on and a dedicated email blast to e-newsletter subscribers will begin in early June.

In the summer of 2011, Visit Florida conducted a highly-successful Facebook-driven campaign that became the subject of white papers from Facebook and Wildfire – the Facebook marketing software provider that produced the applications used in the sweepstakes. A Nielsen study on the “Sunshine Moments” campaign showed a 10-point increase in intent to visit Florida and a significantly improved opinion among the state’s key demographic of 25-34 year olds.

Crowdsourcing for Destination Marketing- Make it Personal!

Tourism boards around the world, such as in Canada, Australia, Iceland amongst many others, have been embracing crowdsourcing for the last few years. Engaging the local community, giving them the power to showcase their knowledge of their own destination while at the same time enhancing the authenticity and ‘personal experience’ factor in the marketing messages is a path widely chosen in many campaigns.

Not to mention that crowdsourcing has also proved quite a popular solution for reputation management campaigns tapping the power of the people such as in the case of Iceland, Athens and many more.

We especially like it when the local community is also involved in even earlier stages, when the responsible tourism marketing organizations decide on the brand identity as the base of all future actions. Let’s see some recent examples!

New South Wales’ People Guide Bloggers

Destination NSW is sharing with the world NSW’s best sites and attractions via a new social networking campaign in which its residents can spread the word on the best kept secret in NSW.

Destination NSW  recently launched  the Global Youth Campaign, designed to get people talking online about all there is to experience in NSW. During a bloggers trip, at the beginning of March four bloggers from around the world embarked on a one-month nonstop content generating mission in NSW.

Travelling around NSW in a bus, these social media experts will be filming, posting, tweeting, blogging and experiencing NSW. The Facebook and Twitter community of NSW will determine where they go, what they do and who they meet.

Destination NSW made a great social move creating a open platform for tourism operators and NSW residents to communicate and collaborate, promoting their destination’s attractions by getting on Facebook and Twitter and sharing their secrets about where the bloggers should visit and what any visitor must do.


Louisiana Calls all Festival Fanatics

Louisiana Travel, part of the state’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, recently asked for its residents to become festival fanatics supporting their state in claiming the title of the Festival Capital of the World.

Ideal candidates for the position would include outgoing people who already love the festival life, have a strong presence in social media, are looking to earn extra money in their free time and have reliable transportation.

Festival Fanatics assignments would include using social media to talk about the festival the week leading up to it, pairing with another festival fanatic to shoot video and photos while at the festival, talking to people about why they are at the festival and blogging about the festival following the event.

By using the organic method of social media — blogging, tweeting, posting, sharing pictures and video – Louisiana Travel expects the wealth of culture Louisiana has to offer to be shared among people across the state and beyond, especially considering the effect that word of mouth plays in travel decision making.


Visit Savannah Crowdsources Tourism Video

Visit Savannah last fall used a dancing statue to promote local tourism in a YouTube video.

The sequel could feature any of the following: A bicyclist, a runner, sock puppets, a collage of local celebrities or a New York City couple there on vacation. Those were the protagonists in the five finalists in the YouTube Tourism Video Contest.

Visit Savannah launched the competition in response to the criticism directed at its “General O” video, a 3-minute, 30-second clip released last October that highlighted Savannah’s top tourism sites but was panned as a “minstrel show” by critics.

Visit Savannah challenged the public to “create a tourism video that highlights Savannah’s sassy spirit and Southern charm.” The creator of the winning entry, to be named in early April, will receive a $7,500 cash prize, and the video will be featured as part of Savannah’s summer tourism campaign.


and of course let’s not forget the great initiative …

Sweden’s Twitter to the People

In a really social move, Sweden took the whole digital world by surprise when it decided to give total control of its Twitter account to it’s citizens with its Curators of Sweden campaign.

While nowadays -almost- all destination organizations are on social media with the ultimate goal of promoting the best they have to offer, staying within the secure limits of trying to show only the beautiful side of the place, by promoting the usual elements of weather, food and landscapes, minimizes the authenticity.

As the Campaign’s website nicely states: “The idea is that the curators, through their tweets, create interest and arouse curiosity for Sweden and the wide range the country has to offer. The expectation is that the curators will paint a picture of Sweden, different to that usually obtained through traditional media.”

Letting the local people, that actually make the destination, take over the official Twitter account and speak their mind, surely promotes the uniqueness and makes the social media channel truly representative of the destination.


It’s All About Experiences & Engagement: Tourism Australia & Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, Groundhog Day & Foursquare

Today, 02 Feb., is Groundhog Day in the US and Canada and this day every year the small city of Punxsutawney takes the national stage. Now with the advent of social media, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office is hoping to bring the city and its beloved tradition into the global spotlight.

And the tool of choice is Foursquare, the location-based, mobile platform that uses brightly colored badges as incentives for amassing check-ins at restaurants, tourist attractions, events and the like.

Foursquare users will be able to receive the Groundhog Day badge by following @VisitPA on the social network and checking in using the word “groundhog.” The badge will only be available from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Groundhog Day.

Now in its second year, the Groundhog Day badge has been record-breaking. It was unlocked by 27,846 users in 2011, more than any sponsored badge to that date

The badge is also representative of a unique partnership between the state of Pennsylvania and Foursquare. Pennsylvania is the first and only state to use Foursquare to promote more than 200 of its state tourist attractions.

Since the 2011 Groundhog Day badge, the tourism bureau has launched four badges, three of which have been retired. The remaining badge, called the Lock and Keystone badge, can be won by checking into five tagged locations across the commonwealth. Tagged locations include museums, restaurants and wine trails.

VisitPA has been a fantastic partner over the past year plus, working on not only badges, but user and merchant engagement,” according to a Foursquare Media Relations representative.

For the tourism office, the partnership with Foursquare has introduced Pennsylvania attractions to a global audience. Foursquare has 15 million users worldwide who have checked in at more than 1.5 billion locales, according to its website. Since its Foursquare launch, the tourism office’s account @visitPA has gained nearly 97,000 followers. More than 67,800 of those followers have unlocked one of its sponsored badges.

Groundhog Day badges are especially great because they’re available worldwide. Everyone in the world gets a chance to think about Pennsylvania — and visiting there — for one day, which is of even bigger importance to the Pennsylvania tourism officials  than getting people who are already in Pennsylvania to earn the badge.

Even though it’s not just about followers, it is worth mentioning that since the announcement of the 2012 Groundhog Day badge on Jan. 23, the @visitPA Foursquare account has grown by 1,200 followers.


100 Amazing Australian Experiences

A new campaign has just launched from Tourism Australia New Zealand, Fairfax media and Qantas.

We love this collaborative initiative, which manages to combine deep market intelligence, user generated content and a holistic presentation of the full package of tourism products and destinations.

The month-long digital campaign showcases 100 amazing Australian experiences, as chosen by Kiwi travel editors and experts. Launched on Australia Day with idyllic coastal experiences, the campaign also promotes Australia’s must-do journeys, nature experiences and events.

Each week, readers can vote for their favourite experience for the chance to win a $10,000 Australian holiday.  The campaign’s next phase will reveal the list ‘as voted for’ by Kiwis, along with the most travelled Kiwi of Australia.

100 Amazing Australian Experiences sits on the Australia Travel section of, alongside national news stories, lifestyle content and experience postcards. It’s supported by Tourism Australia social media and e-dm activity, as well as Qantas marketing.


Fresh Marketing Initiatives from Australia, Philippines & Bermuda

Time to Dream in Tourism Australia & Sydney

We loved the fresh New Year’s Eve initiative by Tourism Australia and Sydney, who this year went a step further

The film, titled ‘Project:12 – Time to Dream’ was created overnight and released on Tourism Australia’s YouTube channel and Facebook and Twitter pages in the early hours of New Year’s Day before many other parts of the world reached their own 2012 countdown.

Tourism Australia asked Sydney residents and visitors to record up to 6 seconds of video footage on their smart phones and upload them on the 31st of December, via the freely provided Sydney NYE App. They released this short film capturing the night as it unfolded, following the stories of a few individuals as well as the individual clips of user generated content, uploading them via the Sydney NYE iPhone app, and the official broadcast footage of the fireworks within hours of the midnight celebrations.

Australia passed the 2million mark on their Facebook page shortly before 2012 began, leading to the video being liked and shared over 14,000 times in the first few days, reaching an extended network in the tens of millions.


“Feel the Love Month” at Bermuda

The  Bermuda Department of  Tourism  is promoting the destination as the ideal romantic getaway in a new winter marketing campaign in North America.

Sponsored by the Department of Tourism, the island’s  ”Feel the Love Month”  takes place from  January 16 – March 3 offering couples the chance to enjoy the island’s cultural offerings through dedicated daily activities including cruises, champagne and strawberries museum reception, salsa dancing nights and more.

Additionally, travellers can enjoy a free night stay at participating hotels when booking a minimum three-night stay during Feel the Love Month.

Accommodations range from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to beach clubs and historic beach-front properties, and the promotion also provides access to exclusive deals and rates at more than 50 Bermuda retailers, including water sports shops, retail stores, restaurants and more with a special Traveler’s Price Card.

Bermuda’s “Feel the Love Month” events and activities include: Couples’ Golf Tournament; Champagne and Strawberries Afternoon Affair; Love Train City Tour; SalsaMania Latin Night Out Dockyard Glassworks; Shopping in the City; Visitors’ Love Cruise; Feel the Love Fridays and a Love Tales Walking Tour.


“It’s more fun in the Philippines”

The Department of Tourism (DOT) just launched a new brand campaign to attract visitors to the country with the line –  ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’.

Focusing on the country’s core strength, the campaign singles out what no other destination can offer – and that is the Filipino people. For example, the Lonely Planet guidebook calls Filipinos ‘among the most easygoing and ebullient people anywhere.’

“Our strategy is simple: while other countries invite you to observe, Filipinos can promise a more heartfelt and interesting experience. Wherever you go, whatever you do in the country, it’s the Filipinos that will complete your vacation and will make your holiday unforgettable,” says the new Tourism Secretary, Ramon Jimenez, Jr.

The Filipinos are already known around the world to be one of the happiest and warmest people on earth. The campaign hopes to enjoin the whole country in creating positive buzz of the tagline.

As the international campaign is underway, the DOT is also developing a national initiative under the line ‘#1FORFUN’ to rally the nation.“The national line is a goal, a constant reminder to ourselves why we can tell travellers it’s more fun here than anywhere else,” says the Secretary, “It needs everyone’s support for it to stay true—we need to make sure people’s experiences in our country are positive, enjoyable, and most of all, fun.”

For the past week, the DOT, through private briefings with traditional media and social media personalities, has been trying to create buzz about the unveiling of its new campaign while it also launched its new website for the campaign,

On Friday morning, the hashtag #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines became the top trending topic worldwide on Twitter. In the Philippines, the campaign also figured prominently on Twitter.


New Marketing Campaigns- Listen, Engage & Inspire!

Mexico Tourism Board has just launched a new marketing initiative as part of a reputation management framework, incorporating user generated content to build trust and change perceptions in its main market. Tourism Toronto has also released a new marketing campaign this month, which manages to promote the city’s holiday season variety of events and attractions through integrated marketing activities beautifully combined with the holiday charity spirit and delivered through effective industry partnerships. And finally, Tourism Vancouver attempts through its latest marketing initiative, to position the destination as a good place to visit utilizing the opportunity of a sports event, to capture a very interested audience through an other innovative use of social media.

Mexico Tourism Board’s ‘The Taxicab Project’

The Mexico Tourism Board has launched a new advertising campaign designed to change perceptions of and drive tourism to Mexico. Simply entitled, “The Taxicab Project”, the campaign features unsuspecting tourists returning from vacation in Mexico giving unscripted and unadulterated testimonials as they are driven home from the airport.

The unscripted and unedited testimonials that form ‘The Taxicab Project’ have been designed to change the way Americans look at Mexico in the hope of driving further tourism growth from the United States.

According to Mexico Tourism Board chief marketing officer, Gerardo Llanes, the North American campaign “features the very people American consumers trust most … American consumers”.

“The people we interviewed were selected at random and provide refreshingly candid accounts of their recent trips to Mexico,” Mr Llanes said. “From the sea to their safety, these videos answer all of the questions Americans want to know.”

The campaign will commence with the distribution of promotional ‘Mexico Taxicab Project’ postcards, that when held up to a smartphone, reveal the initial ads.


Tourism Toronto’s New Holiday Season Campaign

To showcase the city’s holiday season events and happenings, Tourism Toronto has launched a marketing campaign that includes Facebook, partnerships with hotels and retailers, a charitable component and the installation of seven-foot snowmen in the city’s downtown.

Launched under the banner “Torontoland”, the campaign began earlier this month when 20 fibreglass snowmen were introduced to downtown streets. The snowmen serve as a connection to Torontoland’s online elements, including a microsite – – and a Facebook page.


Consumers planning to visit Toronto can book a hotel package on the microsite and “like” Torontoland on Facebook in order to receive a Torontoland wristband by mail. When they go to the city, these visitors can use the wristband to receive 15% discounts at more than 50 attractions, retail outlets and restaurants.

Visitors are also encouraged to share their Toronto experiences with their Facebook friends and upload photos or videos of themselves with the Torontoland snowmen to the campaign’s Facebook page. Tourism Toronto will donate $2 to Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada for each photo and video upload.

In addition to the wristband, the mail package for consumers who engage with Torontoland online also features a map and information about events such as the Scotiabank-presented Cavalcade of Lights and the Santa Claus Parade. Andrew Weir, vice-president of communications for Tourism Toronto, said the objective of the campaign is to promote the city’s holiday season roster of events and attractions.

“December is actually the least busy month for hotels, and yet, when you look at what’s happening in the city, it’s one of the best times to be here,” said Weir. “We had to find a way to communicate this idea of the magic of the holidays in the city. “This also helps turn Toronto residents and visitors into ambassadors that are sharing their stories [online].”


Vancouver Gets Social Media Fans on the Streets

Tourism Vancouver and Vancouver Coast & Mountains Tourism Region have been inspired by one of America’s biggest marketing events in giving away a prize package that includes tickets to Sunday’s Grey Cup game for fans willing to do some legwork.

The contest is running in both Vancouver and Winnipeg. It’s part of a social media campaign called the Grey Cup Chase devised by Vancouver-based Think! Social Media. The concept is a reworking of an idea first used for the Super Bowl in Dallas earlier this year.

Grey Cup Chase

Fans must track down one of two “mystery men” wandering the streets of Winnipeg and Vancouver and give them a secret phrase that can only be found by clicking “like” on Tourism Vancouver’s Facebook page. Clues to their whereabouts are fed through a Twitter account at #GreyCupChase and via selected bloggers until somebody wins.

“An event like the Grey Cup is like a small version of the Olympics,” said Rodney Payne, co-founder and executive director at Think! “You’ve got a lot of passionate fans who are willing to do quite a lot for some tickets. We want to position the destination as a great place to come and travel to afterwards.”

It’s a bit of an experiment, said Candace Gibson, manager of consumer marketing for Tourism Vancouver. “We know that people are following events like the Grey Cup online and through social media more and more all the time, so this is just another way to reach a very interested audience.”

Gibson said the target group is 25-45 with a 60/40 male split. The objective is to create buzz through new Facebook fans, “likes,” adding Twitter followers and garnering a bit of traditional media attention.


Online/Offline Marketing Integration Case Study: This is Athens

User Generated Content & Reputation Management through Integrated Online & Offline Marketing efforts

Back in 2010,, the official visitors’ website of Athens, Greece launched an online initiative titled This is Athens, a concept developed by the Athens Tourism and Economic Development Co. (ATEDCo) in partnership with abouTourism destination consultants and MindWorks/ website design & development by ATCOM . The campaign’s objective was to create the largest photostream ever made for Athens, inviting the city’s residents and visitors to upload their own photos online and show the whole world what Athens was all about.

The campaign rolled out at a time when the city’s and the entire country’s image was put to test due to intense but short lived public unrest incidents. The blow on the city’s image due to intense and one-sided media coverage was fierce and at the same time local residents needed an opportunity to revamp their pride for the city. The most effective way to achieve both and fight back was to show the world what was really happening in the city.

At a crisis time, when no tourism marketing campaign seems to be convincing enough, the challenge lies in depicting the actual and multi faced situation, leveraging the negative connotations which stay with the audience for much longer than those few days that the actual incidents lasted. This is when the actual people that form and represent the destination come into the equation and can play a crucial role.

The goal of the ThisisAthens campaign was to engage local people, showcase the everyday life in Athens, promote a flavour of true experiences and an alternative image of the city through user generated content. The campaign created the first-ever real-time photostream documenting daily life in Athens through more than 5,000 pictures. Every day, Athenian locals posted hundreds of photographs taken by them of  “their own” city.

The campaign received thousands of tweets and shares on Facebook and Twitter and contributed greatly to the image of this contemporary urban, historic and culturally-rich city we know as Athens. Furthermore there was the possibility to add tags, comments and descriptions in every uploaded picture thus making it easier to share and spread via social media channels.

In continuation of the online marketing campaign, in July 2011 the Athens Tourism and Economic Development Co. (ATEDCo) launched the This is MY Athens initiative, a visitor greeter program designed to give visitors the insider’s edge of the city through a walk with an Athens local.

According to the abouTourism perspective on strategic tourism marketing and integration, the second part of the ThisisAthens campaign was a transportation of the strategic drivers and objectives of the digital campaign initiative into an offline environment, while still utilizing online and offline media to promote it.

This is My Athens is free program available to visitors to Athens and staffed by volunteer Athenians who are excited to show visitors “their city” and all it has to offer.

Launched during a challenging period at a national and local level, during which tourism- an industry the destination is relying heavily upon- was also affected, the This is MY Athens program was greeted with unprecedented enthusiasm from Athenians. They were constantly expressing their desire to show the entire world what Athens was all about, in contrary to the city image they knew was circulating globally. Hundreds of volunteers registered their availability to meet and greet potential visitors to the city and many walks have already been organized while the list keeps growing.

Following a full destination tourism product audit, the program’s goal is to showcase the variety of the city’s tourist offerings through the program’s promotion and processes, offering visitors the opportunity to select from a variety of experiences.  In order to ensure the best possible visitor satisfaction levels, we ensured quality control standards and measurement were in place through documented visitors’ feedback and explanatory introductory sessions for all selected volunteers, informing them about the tourism product as well as the program’s ideals and objectives. The volunteering Athens Locals are then left with the freedom to create their own itineraries and the choice to show what they enjoy most about their city.

To facilitate the program’s processes, support the volunteers and achieve the best possible results in terms of service, we also incorporated the city’s Visitor Information network, by offering further information and registration possibility through the city’s Info Points positioned in high visitor flow locations. With the use of high end technology equipment (LCD screens and iPads) visitors are able to explore all the city has to offer digitally as well as register for a walk with an Athens Local.

The initiative was promoted through online and offline media and received extensive coverage mainly due to its voluntary nature and the fact that there was already a public desire building up for corrective actions. The campaign cleverly employed the public’s motivation to help promote their city and show a positive and alternative side of Athens by actually giving them the opportunity to become the city’s brand ambassadors. More than 300 Athens Locals have registered as volunteers making this one of the most successful visitor greeters programs available, while more than 100 visitor applications have already been received in less than 2 months of the program’s operation.

The two parts of the ThisisAthens campaign are an example of integrated marketing where online and offline marketing initiatives complement each other, driven by an accurate situational analysis and set marketing objectives to ensure consistency of the promoted message and efficient brand management. It is an ongoing reputation management campaign which involves the local population.

The next stages of the campaign’s development will include its expansion to the local audience, organization of street events, flash mobs, walks with celebrities and …well that’s enough for now…..Stay tuned for more!

For more information visit:

Tourism Campaigns & User Generated Content! Share more!

European Travel Commission’s ‘I Wish I Were There’ Social Media Contest

The European Travel Commission launched a social media contest entitled, “I Wish I Were There.” Hosted on the ETC’s official Facebook page, the contest will encourage fans to superimpose images of themselves in their dream European destination and post the new photos to the Facebook page to be automatically entered to win a trip for two to Europe.

I Wish I Were There” is the first of three exciting social media contests that are slated to take place on the European Travel Commission’s social networks over the course of the year as part of a new creative campaign to promote Europe as a tourism destination to the U.S. consumer. The “Follow Your Dreams: Visit Europe” campaign aims to educate travelers on the compelling tourism offerings available within Europe with an emphasis on history, culture and gastronomy.

The top five photos will be selected by the greatest number of “Likes” obtained by Visit Europe Facebook fans and entered for online voting to determine the Grand Prize Winner, who will be awarded a dream European vacation to their destination of choice from a selection of three European travel destinations – Austria, Croatia or Poland. The national tourism organizations of each country will be offering sponsored inclusive of hotel stays, ground transportation and cultural activities for the winner and one guest.

ETC’s web portal along with its dynamic social networks offers travelers activities, tools and tips to help consumers organize their journey to Europe and encourages travelers to share their own experiences and read others while accessing photos, videos and social networks.


The “My Sarajevo Photo” project

A dynamic new web site and ongoing photo competition launched in Sarajevo this month will be uniting citizens, visitors and the tourism industry in a scheme aimed at creating a database of high-quality photos for promoting Sarajevo as a tourism destination.

Branding Sarajevo required strong promotional materials with top-notch photographs, and the new web site will provide the BiH tourism industry with a free database of at least 2,500 high-quality photos capturing different aspects of life in Sarajevo.

The “My Sarajevo Photo” project represents one of the activities defined in the cooperation agreement between the City of Sarajevo and the USAID-Sida FIRMA Project that was signed in January 2011. “‘My Sarajevo Photo’ is a project with which Sarajevo Navigator, in cooperation with the City of Sarajevo, starts working on the branding of Sarajevo as a tourism destination,” said Nedim Lipa of Sarajevo Navigator at a press conference on July 7.

“With this project, we aim to present an image of Sarajevo as seen through the eyes of its citizens as well as its visitors,” he said, while also thanking the USAID-Sida FIRMA Project for its support.

At the heart of this project is an ongoing public web competition for the best photo of Sarajevo. The photos will be published on the website, which is connected with the social network Facebook, where people can rate and comment on them. All the photos will be stored in a database with view and search options, while the latest submissions and those with the most Facebook votes will be more prominently placed on the web site.

“We expect this activity to contribute to tourists’ decisions to visit the city, while building a sense of pride and belonging among its citizens. The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as tourists will be able to participate in the monthly competition for the best photo of Sarajevo, and the photos will then be available for use by tourism stakeholders,” said David King, Chief of Party of the USAID-Sida FIRMA Project, at the press conference.

My Story Is Written in Albuquerque

A new promotion by the city of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau encourages “Burqueños” to tell their stories about the city — and possibly win a trip for friends or family to visit the Duke City.

So far there are 24 stories among the entries and the idea is to grow the ranks of local ambassadors, said Dale Lockett, president and CEO of the ACVB.

“The goal of this campaign is to capture the stories and different viewpoints about why we love calling this city home, which are many of the same reasons people visit,” Lockett said. “Hearing stories from our residents will help us showcase the vast array of experiences that are available in our city — to locals and visitors alike.”

Albuquerque residents are invited to write their own stories and submit a photo at the site, They are also encouraged to click on a link to send family and friends a virtual Albuquerque Visitors Guide.

The site features a Flickr photostream of Albuquerque pictures that people can use with their entries. They can also post their own photo. There is also a link to ACVB’s YouTube channel. The Facebook and Twitter options let contestants share their stories more widely. The site also offers lists of things to do, including some that are free or cost less than $10.