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National Travel and Tourism Week is just a few weeks away but we are hitting the road early, appearing at annual tourism banquets and events, speaking at conferences, presenting grants, and meeting with industry leaders. My schedule for April and May are posted online so you can see when I might be in your area.
Our staff is also doing some serious road-time inside and outside the state line to promote Wisconsin. Deputy Dave is attending the International Pow Wow in Los Angeles this month. Our public relations team heads to North Carolina to meet with writers at the Midwest Travel Writers Association spring meeting, followed by appointments with editors in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago. Travel Green Coordinator Shelly Allness is embarking on a series of Travel Green Wisconsin workshops around the state. Keep reading the Travel Wisconsin News for more details on these activities.
In business news, we encourage you to take a look at becoming a member of the Governor's Council on Tourism. Information about the application process is posted online for your convenience. Feel free to contact me or Council Chair Lola Roeh if you have any questions about what's involved with serving on the Tourism Council.
In looking ahead to May, there's a lot coming fast and furious, including the launch of the summer advertising campaign, a Council Meeting, grant award announcements and the Governor's Fishing Opener. And most importantly for all of you, the official summer season kick-off of Memorial Day weekend is just five weeks away. So with that, I say "let's roll up our sleeves and get busy" to provide our travelers with a memorable travel experience, and make 2012 the best summer ever!
Governor's Council on Tourism
With our next Council Meeting scheduled for May 17th in Madison, Council Committees continue with plans off-line. The Marketing Committee is working with Department staff and Laughlin Constable to fine tune concepts for the 2012 summer campaign. Research on last summer and fall campaign showed a 6:1 return on investment and we are collectively shooting for another good year of returns on our marketing dollars for 2012.
The Travel Green Committee had a conference call this month and an in-person meeting is scheduled for May. The Committee is focused on finding ways to increase membership, revising the application process and creating marketing enhancements. Keep reading for more Travel Green Wisconsin program updates, upcoming workshops and a link to find out how you can be a part of this worthwhile program.
Instead of promoting Tourism for only one week this May, Secretary Klett and Deputy Dave have declared the entire month of May as Tourism Month, providing three extra weeks of promotion for our industry! While the Secretary and Deputy Secretary will be traveling the state during this time, there is ample opportunity for everyone to promote Tourism during this time, so get in touch with your local newspapers, plan Tourism promotions and events, post on Facebook or Twitter–whatever it takes to draw attention to National Travel and Tourism week and kick off our summer season in fine style! .
I want to take this opportunity to thank Council Member Tim Gantz for his service on the Tourism Council. He has stepped down from the Council following the recent sale of his business, Noah's Ark Water Park. We wish him all the best as he begins a brand new journey!
As always, we welcome your comments, your support and your investment of time and energy in moving Wisconsin Tourism forward. If the early spring is any indication of what lies ahead, we have a great season before us!
Summer Ad Campaign Taps Iowa Travelers
The summer ad campaign will have its official launch next month in conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week. All of the creative and marketing assets will be posted on our Marketing Overview page around May 7. New to this summer's campaign is a strategic decision to have a strong presence in the Iowa market due to its proximity to Wisconsin and its relatively good economy. To learn more about our Iowa strategy, watch this video interview Dave did with the Dubuque Telegraph Herald or his interview with the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Deputy Attends International Pow Wow
The state of Wisconsin will be well represented at the U.S. Travel Association's International Pow Wow this month. This event is the largest generator of travel to the U.S. with three days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments and nearly 1,200 representatives, including media and tour operators, from more than 70 countries. Deputy Dave will join staff from Visit Milwaukee, Harley-Davidson Museum and North Central Hotel Group to sell Wisconsin to this important market.
Keep Walking with Walker
Lace those tennis shoes and grab a bottle of water, Walk with Walker has resumed this spring. These events continue the First Lady's initiative to explore the natural, scenic beauty of Wisconsin's parks, trails and landscapes, while promoting health and wellness. The first walk of the spring was April 17 at Cave of the Mounds. Upcoming walks include May 30 in La Crosse and June 14 in Lake Geneva.
Industry Relations & Services Director
Tourism Economics Research On Its Way
Keep an eye on your inbox for a Travel Wisconsin News that will provide a link to the Tourism Economics research and the National Tourism Week toolkit on or about April 30. Please note that we require that industry partners hold off on publicizing the numbers or providing the information to the media until Sunday, May 6 when we expect the statewide story to run. The research detailing county information will come in the form of a spreadsheet alphabetized by county and will include visitor spending, jobs and tax revenue. If you have any questions about the new research, please contact Sarah Klavas at 608-266-3750 or your Regional Tourism Specialist.
Tourism Destination Assessments
What are your strengths? And how do you capitalize on them? Your Regional Tourism Specialist can help you uncover your destination's assets and leverage those with effective marketing. The Department now offers a Destination Assessment program to establish a framework for destination development and marketing. The first round of assessments for Muscoda, Evansville and Mercer are nearly complete. Data has been evaluated, final summary documents written and community reports are scheduled to be presented in the next two months. Platteville and Rusk County are the next two assessments in line. For more information on the assessment program visit the industry site here.
Northwoods Task Force Established
A task force has been established as a result of the successful "Future of the Northwoods" breakout session at WIGCOT last month. James Bolen, Executive Director of the Cable Chamber of Commerce, will be leading the work and the first meeting is scheduled for May 22 in Price County. For more information, please contact Sarah Klavas or Regional Tourism Specialist Sarah Pischer.
Farewell to Kit
Join all of us at the Department in sending our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Kit Sorenson, Regional Tourism Specialist, on his upcoming retirement. With 16 years of dedicated service, Kit has a passion for Wisconsin and has served as an invaluable resource to the Department and the industry. He is an expert at bringing the pieces and people together to accomplish a big picture and has made a significant positive impact in tourism. Everyone here, along with the many industry partners he served over the years, wish him best in all of his future endeavors!
Kudos to our Industry Partners
Program Manger & Liaision
Online Banner Ads Now Running
As you're browsing online through your every day work keep an eye out for the TGW banner ads that started running April 1. These ads will link customers to our TGW consumer website in an effort to raise awareness and drive business for our membership. The media buy will run through the end of June.
Earth Month Marketing Power
We have taken advantage of the upcoming Earth Day and April Earth Month to promote TGW and a green Wisconsin. Activities included an Earth Day release, homepage article on TravelWisconsin.com, a guest interview on Ch 15 in Madison as well as mentions in The Wisconsin Traveler consumer email and in the Secretary's Wisconsin Radio Networks weekly broadcast. We're promoting green travel and TGW businesses every chance we get!
Learn About Travel Green Wisconsin at a Workshop Near You
Travel Green Wisconsin coordinator Shelly Allness is hosting program workshops around the state this week. These are free and open to anyone in the tourism industry interested in becoming TGW certified.
Grant Tip of the Month
For this month's Grant Tip of the Month, we would like to give a shout out to the Department's accountant extraordinaire Glenn Aumann. Glenn is the man behind all of the Department's fiscal affairs and makes sure that each and every grant recipient is paid promptly and in accordance with the state's grant procedures and protocol. We are fortunate to have his professional CPA skills (not to mention patience and sense of humor) on our team to keep us in fiscal working order.
Changes on the JEM Committee
We send a HUGE thank you to George Tzougros, who after 10 years of being a pillar on the JEM committee, is stepping down. George will stay on until the first quarter of FY 2013 to bridge the transition until Paul Upchurch from Visit Milwaukee can take his place.
Travel Writer Conferences and Networking
The public relations team will be crossing state lines to promote Wisconsin tourism and network with travel writers the next few months. Danielle will be attending the spring meeting of Midwest Travel Writers Association (MTWA) this month in North Carolina where she will be introduced to the organization and network with regional travel writers. Lisa will also be attending the Society for American Travel Writers (SATW) annual meeting in Indianapolis in September. Deskside meetings with regional travel editors and freelance writers are also on tap. Laughlin-Constable staff will join Lisa and Danielle for a trip to the Twin Cities in May followed by a round of Chicago deskside meetings in June.
Keeping the Travel Story Ideas Flowing
We're meeting our goal to distribute at least one story idea press release each month to the travel media. In March, we distributed a "Tourism Accolades" release saluting the many awards and recognitions received by the tourism industry. April featured our "Earth Day is Every Day in Wisconsin" release highlighting green travel opportunities. An 18-page sampler of summer events around the state is scheduled to go out this week followed by a "Year of the Veteran" release promoting the many activities, discounts and events honoring our veterans and active duty military personnel.
The clips keep rolling in! Take a peek at the excellent coverage of Lake Geneva resulting from last fall's press tour in Home by Design magazine (over $1 million in ad equivalency!), American Baby and Althlon Sports magazine. Keep up to date with all our major clips in our Media Room.
Technology & Customer Service
TravelWisconsin.com Reeling in Anglers
Given that "fishing" is a top search term on TravelWisconsin.com, our technology team responded and created a fishing hub. It's a one-stop online collection for everything related to fishing on TravelWisconsin.com including articles, events, photos, links to DNR information and a directory aimed at inspiring travel related to fishing. The hub gets even more interactive with a refurbished virtual fishing game. Can you hook a trophy fish? From inland lakes and streams to Great Lakes and ice fishing, this is a go-to resource for fishing enthusiasts.
April is National Poetry Month, so I'll take this opportunity to briefly inform you about Poetry Out Loud, introduce you to Bruce Dethlefsen, Wisconsin's Poet Laureate, and encourage your support of the literary arts in your community.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with the Wisconsin Arts Board and the other U.S. state arts agencies to present Poetry Out Loud, a contest that encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
Anna Wolfs, a sophomore at Hartland Arrowhead High School, was recently selected Wisconsin's 2012 state champion. We are proud to report that Secretary Klett was one of the judges for the competition. The state champion and runner-up will each receive cash awards, as will their school libraries. Ms. Wolfs will also represent Wisconsin at the National Poetry Out Loud contest to be held in Washington, DC, May 13 - 15. Please join us in cheering Anna on!
I'd also like to introduce you to Bruce Dethlefsen, who has been Wisconsin's Poet Laureate since November 2010. He is Wisconsin's fourth Poet Laureate. He follows Ellen Kort, Denise Sweet, and Marilyn Taylor. You may watch Bruce read some of his poetry here. To learn more about the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, click here.
Wisconsin celebrates its rich literary heritage in many ways – from year-round presentations supported by the Wisconsin Humanities Council or the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, to the Autumn Wisconsin Poetry Festival in Fort Atkinson. The great news is that our literary heritage is constantly expanding thanks to the efforts of our many great living writers and a number of supportive arts organizations.
Given that, I encourage you to explore the ways in which your community supports the literary arts: at the local library, with programs at one of our state's colleges or universities, through community organizations like the venerable Woodland Pattern in Milwaukee, or maybe through one of our many book festivals in Madison, Eau Claire, the Fox Cities, or Edgerton.
So this month, and throughout the year, attend an event, read your favorite poem(s), maybe even pick up a pen. "He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life." - George Sand
Harnessing the power of tourism to build a better Wisconsin. |
See how on: http://industry.travelwisconsin.com.
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