Tourism has many benefits, for both communities and residents. It helps create jobs and brings in extra tax revenue. It encourages civic pride and the preservation of history and tradition. And, it can positively affect “tourism assets,” including wildlife and natural resources.
Promoting tourism can be a challenge. Here are four ways to bring more visitors to your community—and some tourist gifts to support your efforts.
Your city or county website is the face of your community. Make sure it is an accurate representation. Your website should be up-to-date, contain high-quality images and descriptive captions, and offer useful information for prospective tourists. Be certain your site is search engine optimized, too. After all, the best sites in the world will never get traffic if they are not visible to search engines.
Social media has had a huge impact on travel and tourism. Eighty-nine percent of millennials rely on peer-posted content when making travel plans. And more than 97 percent share pictures and video of their travels online, according to the same source. Make sure your tourism efforts are noticed. Encourage visitors to share their experiences in your community. Run social contests where tourists can post photos using hashtags. Reward those that do with gifts for tourists like a branded bottle opener keychain or luggage tag.
Consider asking guest bloggers to write about their stay in your community. Popular options include experience enthusiasts, foodies, mommy bloggers or business travelers. Advertise your desire for input in your local travel guide, at your association of commerce and at area hotels and lodges. Thank guest bloggers for their time with a hotel voucher and restaurant gift card tucked inside an amenity kit.
Special events, including concerts, craft shows, festivals or fairs, can be a great way to bring in out-of-town guests (and keep the locals there, too). Push local businesses to promote and support community events—after all, visitors are likely to spend money locally, providing an economic boost to your city or county. Area businesses can encourage tourists to visit their store by providing exclusive gifts for tourists for stopping by—a pizzeria could give away logo’d pizza cutters or a gas station could gift branded jar openers, for example.
Tourism is a win-win for communities and residents. Follow these 4 tips—don’t forget to enhance your efforts with tourist gifts—and you will be sure to see more visitors. Happy trails!