Weekly e-newsletter for VisitNC partners
December 12, 2018
* Visit NC to be recognized with Adrian Award
* Visit NC's PR efforts lead to Gingerbread House Competition, Polar Express in the spotlight
* One opening still available for N.Y. travel show
Visit NC to be recognized with Adrian Award
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) will honor Visit North Carolina with a Gold Adrian Award for "Firsts That Last," an integrated campaign featuring real-life travelers making their first visit to North Carolina for first-time experiences. The award will be presented Jan. 22 in New York City at HSMAI's Adrian Awards Gala, which honors recipients of the largest and most prestigious global travel marketing competition.
"Firsts That Last" centers on short films documenting three first-time trips to the North Carolina mountains, Piedmont and coast. Stills and footage from the unscripted films were used in compilation TV spots, print ads, online video, digital executions and public relations outreach. A dedicated section on VisitNC.com highlights how visitors can experience similar trips of their own. The campaign was designed and produced by Luquire George Andrews (LGA) in Charlotte, Visit North Carolina's agency of record.
"We love the way everyone can relate to these first-time visitors," said Visit NC's Wit Tuttell. "The featured experiences are specific: seeing the ocean, tasting moonshine and exploring waterfalls. As these visitors immerse themselves in a memorable time and place, their personal discoveries reflect the way travel enriches our lives. It's a compelling truth that people recognize when they engage with 'Firsts That Last.'"
Travelers responded, with site traffic in target media markets up 85 percent during the initial spring 2018 run. In newer target markets, growth was up as much as 400 percent.
Visit NC's PR efforts lead to Gingerbread House Competition, Polar Express in the spotlight

Efforts by Visit NC's PR team have led to the Omni Grove Park Inn's Gingerbread House Competition and the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad's Polar Express in two articles on FamilyTraveller.com. A fast-growing global brand based in the U.K., Family Traveller launched U.S. operations in late 2017. The website attracts 129,000 unique monthly visitors as a popular publication for parents and families planning trips.
For "These Life-Size Gingerbread Houses Are Over-The-Top," the website explained, "Sugar, spice and everything nice are at the heart of Omni Grove Park Inn's National Gingerbread House Competition in Asheville. From Nov. 25-Jan. 4 guests and locals alike are invited to admire the edible architecture with some of the most delectable houses on the market."
For "The Best Holiday Train Experiences This Winter," FamilyTraveller.com reported, "The Polar Express with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad takes families on a memorable journey. The 1ΒΌ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot in North Carolina for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children's faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board The Polar Express™, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot."
One opening still available for N.Y. travel show

There is still one opening available for an industry partner to join Visit NC at The New York Times Travel Show in New York City, Jan. 25-27. This particular travel show has approximately 20,000 consumer attendees, plus 1,000 media. The cost to participate at the show is $850 per partner. Consumer travel shows offer additional opportunities for Visit NC - and its interested partners - to promote travel to North Carolina to potential visitors who are actively looking for travel suggestions and information. If you would like to participate, contact Andre Nabors at (919) 447-7771 by Dec. 18.
Winston-Salem among 'Best Places to Travel in the U.S. in 2019'

Forbes has included Winston-Salem among its "Where to Go Next: 14 Best Places to Travel in the U.S. In 2019." The Forbes contributor "tapped into 14 of the most plugged-in travel experts and influencers to find out the top places that are on their radars for 2019." One particular travel blogger selected Winston-Salem, noting, in part, "There is nothing like Southern hospitality, and you will definitely find that in the heart of Winston-Salem. The walkable downtown continues to grow, with more than $1.5 billion invested into downtown revitalization over the last decade. Visitors can enjoy a taste of Winston-Salem, thanks to seven craft breweries in a one-mile radius, more than 80 locally-owned restaurants and cafes (many of which are women-run) and an array of live music venues, eclectic art galleries and innovative cocktail lounges."
STS Top 20 Events nominations for July-August-September deadline Jan. 18

The deadline for nominating events for Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 events for July-August-Septemberis Jan. 18. Nominated events must have an attendance of at least 1,000 and be in the third year of existence. Nominations for STS' Top 20 Events can now be submitted electronically via an online form. Top 20 Events strongly encourages entrants to support their nomination by providing supporting material such as photos, posters, brochures, press releases, news clippings and/or volunteer programs. There is a $25 entry fee per event nomination and events do not have to be a member of STS to participate.
Vote for Morgan Street Food Hall for 10Best 'Best of 2018'

Vote for Morgan Street Food Hall & Market in Raleigh as Best New Food Hall among the nominations for 10Best "Best of 2018." Online voting is now open via USAToday.com's website; click on the hyperlink to vote. Voting ends Jan. 7at noon.
Visit Raleigh efforts highlighted in 'Why CVBs and DMOs Are Planners' Perfect Partners'

Successful Meetings included Visit Raleigh in its "Why CVBs and DMOs Are Planners' Perfect Partners." The article spotlighted efforts by seven DMOs as "examples of how DMO professionals have pitched in to make meetings in their destinations linger long and lovingly in the memories of attendees." The article noted, in part, "Given the immensely immersive presence of the [International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass] in the city, it's no wonder that organizers have relied on Visit Raleigh for help in growing the event. In first setting out to achieve this goal, the bureau formed a committee of area marketing experts and community leaders charged with coming up with ways to reach new audiences and engage the local community. One result was a new yearly event called Shout & Shine: A Celebration of Diversity in Bluegrass, created with a focus on diverse artists, musicians and other professionals devoted to the music. Another successful addition to the agenda was the Wide Open Bluegrass street festival, which has grown to more than 100 artists performing across eight stages over two days." In addition, Visit Raleigh has promoted the event's innovative partnership with the NC Whole Hog Barbecue State Championships; helped create the World of Bluegrass Official Visitors App; and worked to make the event more user-friendly for attendees with physical challenges.
Locally grown Christmas trees and decor
It is difficult to imagine holiday decorating without the time-honored Christmas tree - and there are many ways of reducing its environmental impact. North Carolina is one of the largest producers of Christmas trees, and the N.C. Christmas Association provides information on the industry plus where to find Christmas tree farms. Purchasing locally grown Christmas trees for a hotel, restaurant or other business presents a good environmental option since they have not been shipped long distances and it helps North Carolina's economy. Another great option is to buy a "balled in burlap" tree with roots still attached, that can be planted on the property and decorated year after year. In addition, once planted, they can provide shelter for roosting and nesting birds. When decorating a tree, also consider using energy-efficient LED holiday light strands and purchasing used ornaments from thrift stores. Another option is to encourage guests and staff to make their own ornaments from old holiday cards and natural items such as cinnamon sticks and ribbons. For more information on sustainability in the tourism industry, visit www.ncgreentravel.com or contact NC GreenTravel Program Manager Tom Rhodes at (919) 707-8140.
For the week of Dec. 13, North Carolina Weekend continues the second part of its new format: running eight episodes, one each week, and then repeating those episodes for the following eight weeks. So this week's episode is a repeat of the one that originally aired Oct. 11. It features West Jefferson, Machapunga EcoTours in Belhaven, and a "Collecting Carolina" segment on Gibsonville Antiques & Collectibles in Gibsonville. (Check local listings; segments are subject to change.) North Carolina Weekend is underwritten by Visit North Carolina. In addition, UNC-TV has recent editions of North Carolina Weekend available online.
In 2017, domestic traveler expenditures generated $6.0 billion payroll income in North Carolina, an 8.5 percent increase from 2016. The foodservice sector, the largest sector, posted $1.8 billion in payroll income generated by domestic travel. For more North Carolina visitor spending information, visit Economic Impact Studies, or contact Visit NC's Marlise Taylor at (919) 447-7748.

Upcoming Industry Meetings & Events

Dec. 13 - AENC Annual Showcase, Raleigh
Jan. 16-17 - BRPA Winter Meeting, Wyethville, Va.
Jan. 24-25 - MPI Carolinas Chapter Meeting, Durham
Jan 24-Feb. 3 - Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah
Jan. 25-29 - ABA Marketplace, Louisville, Ky.
Jan. 29-31 - RCMA Emerge, Greensboro
March 31-April 2 - Visit NC 365 Conference, Wilmington
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