- The Washington Times - Monday, October 22, 2001


Travel and tourism is getting an extra needed push by states and cities all over the country, especially Washington and New York.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, officials have started extensive advertising and promotional campaigns to get people traveling again.

Maryland, for example, has more than tripled its advertising budget for tourism to $1.2 million through the end of the year. The state kicked off the campaign in the beginning of October with a weekend of free tolls at Maryland bridges and tunnels and free admission to state parks.

Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corp. started the first leg of its promotions by trying to get residents back out to the city the weekend of Oct. 13. The purpose was to get people "inspired" in their own hometown, see the sights, take advantage of discounts at museums and restaurants and more importantly spend money.

"It went so well we plan to do it again on a more frequent basis from now to the end of the year," says William A. Hanbury, president and chief executive of the Convention and Tourism Corp.

Tourism officials selected Eisner Communications of Baltimore to handle the advertising for its new "Be Inspired" campaign, which is designed to attract business and leisure travelers to the District.

The Convention and Tourism Corp. plans to spend $4 million on the campaign $2.5 million is already available with the remainder still being raised, Mr. Hanbury says.

For now, city officials are focusing on convention business with ads running in major national trade publications over the next three months. Some of the ads are as simple as a letter from the mayor and Mr. Hanbury with a message saying the city is open for business.

Officials are evaluating when will be the appropriate time to begin targeting leisure travelers to the city on a national scale.

Mr. Hanbury expects to roll out an aggressive national consumer advertising campaign no later than the first quarter of next year.

Mr. Hanbury says Washington is closely watching how New York is handling its promotional efforts, and even borrowing some of its ideas to implement in Washington.

Washington will also join forces with New York in upcoming promotions. Officials are negotiating with Amtrak for a joint marketing effort between the two cities, Mr. Hanbury says.

"We are definitely looking at what New York is doing," Mr. Hanbury says. "The reality is . . from a market perspective New York is recovering faster than we are."

New York state started running a television commercial as the first phase of its $40 million advertising campaign geared toward bringing visitors back to the New York City.

The television spot, which features the old "I Love NY" proclamation and several celebrities like Ben Stiller, Nathan Lane and Derek Jeter, started running Oct. 10 on stations from Boston to Washington and as far as Cleveland.

"New York is ready and open for business," said Gov. George E. Pataki, in a statement. "This advertising campaign will communicate that positive message to millions of Americans and help the city and state of New York continue our recovery from the horrific events of September 11th."

Bidding for business

The Washington Convention Center Authority is sifting through 20 proposals for the winning bid for its $400,000 advertising contract.

Authority officials hope to make a decision within the next three to four weeks, says spokesman Tony Robinson.

Many of the bids have been submitted by agencies that have teamed up to handle the business.

The focus of the three-year renewable advertising contract is to "market the services of the building" not to market the city, Mr. Robinson says.

The winner will handle the grand opening events for the new convention center scheduled for March 2003, as well as other public relations functions.

New wins

• Arnold Worldwide has been selected as agency of record for Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. (CART). The McLean agency will lead the advertising and integrated marketing campaign efforts and will share certain aspects of the account with Arnold's Boston headquarters.

• Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Advertising & Marketing runs every other week.

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