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Can a Town Rebrand From Its Racist Past?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 28, 2012 04:36 PM

American civil rights tourism is starting to be big business. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis is in the midst of a $27 million reno that’ll be finished in 2013 and the Smithsonian is opening a $500 million National Museum of African American History in D.C. in 2014, the same year that the $100 million National Center for Civil & Human Rights is set to open in Atlanta. 

All that said, there are still some places that haven’t quite gotten to the museum-building part yet and are still just trying to just shake their own awful pasts. One Arkansas town that ran most of its black residents out of town back in 1905, burning down homes and shooting out windows, is hoping to let bygones be bygones and recast itself. The small town of Harrison, Arkansas, is now trying to rebrand itself now as a place that’s open to minorities of all stripes, the Associated Press reports.

In a town of 13,000, there are currently only 34 visible minorities that currently live in Harrison, but the town would like to draw more residents and businesses regardless of skin color, the AP adds. Town leaders have created a task force on race relations, invited a civil-rights speaker come in, and printed posters about the city’s past difficulties. But is it all whitewashing?Continue reading...

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Grand Central On Track for 2013 Centennial with New Logo

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 21, 2012 06:05 PM

New York’s Grand Central Station doesn’t turn 100 until next year but it is already throwing itself a party. The Big Apple's landmark train station this week unveiled a new logo. Yes, we know — who knew it even had an old one?

You can bet that a few of the 750,000 daily commuters that come through the 80,000-square-foot place had some idea. The new one features “an image of the big clock that's a popular meeting spot in the marble-paved main concourse,” the AP notes.

Grand Central currently is home only to the Metro North train line as well as sitting on top of a slew of subway lines. However, even more folks will be coming through the terminal in 2016, when the new tunnels that will allow LIRR (Long Island Railroad) trains to come there will be completed.Continue reading...

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Visit Haiti and Help Pay to Promote Visiting Haiti

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2012 05:17 PM

In January of 2010, the Caribbean island of Haiti was hit with a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that likely killed 220,000 or more people and devastated the country’s infrastructure.

The U.S. has forked over $2 billion to help Haiti rebuild and plenty of other countries and aid organizations have donated countless hours and dollars to the cause. Things have moved along enough in the past two years that Haiti is now trying to “rebrand itself from Caribbean disaster zone to tourism Mecca,” according to the Miami Herald.

“One South Beach-inspired businessman is installing the nation’s first rooftop infinite pool, three restaurants, and an eventual helipad,” the Herald reports, while the Best Western offers a spa and a shuttle to the airport that will make sure visitors don’t see the “more seedy parts” of the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Meanwhile, the airport is adding new immigration counters in the hopes that more arrivals will start coming.Continue reading...

place branding

Guest Post: Jay Wang on Brand USA as Nation Branding

Posted by Jay Wang on February 10, 2012 01:33 PM

Brand USA, a non-profit, public-private partnership, is to launch a global advertising campaign next month, as part of the country’s concerted effort in marketing tourism to the world. As its core mission, the organization, created in 2010, is to “encourage and inspire travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.”

While America’s image in the global political imagination has experienced ups and downs over the last decade, the U.S. has remained as a leading destination for international investment, education and, yes, tourism. In 2010, with nearly 60 million international visitors, the U.S. ranked second (only to France) in international tourist arrivals, and first in international tourism receipts. In-bound tourism has seen steady improvement since it hit a low in the aftermath of 9-11 and the ensuing war in Iraq.

Nevertheless, this campaign is important and timely. Symbolic as it may be, it sends an unmistakable signal reaffirming America’s openness and optimism, the very foundation of the country’s soft power.Continue reading...

place branding

Connecticut Crowdsources Rebranding

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 27, 2012 10:20 AM

Rebranding a state can be a dicey proposition. As the Wall Street Journal noted in an article about New Mexico's desire to come up with a new marketing slogan,

New Jersey hired a consultant a few years ago to come up with a new tourism slogan. The result? "New Jersey: We'll Win You Over." That may have been an improvement over its 1970s tagline, "New Jersey's Got It," which inspired innumerable jokes about venereal disease. But state officials thought "We'll Win You Over" sounded defensive and spiked the campaign.

So we're watching with interest another rebranding project in New York City's tri-state area: Connecticut, which has been saving its pennies and now has $22 million in its coffers to spend on boosting tourism and business investment in the state. The Nutmeg State hasn’t spent any money in the last two years on tourism and is now opening up its wallet to try and rebrand itself over the next two years.Continue reading...

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Today is a Very Good Day to Be Detroit

Posted by Dale Buss on January 6, 2012 06:26 PM

Today is, unofficially at least, "Love Detroit" Day.

The robust Detroit Lions are about to enter the NFL playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Chrysler just announced the addition of 1,100 new auto-assembly jobs in the city, great news following the ebullient 2011 U.S. car sales reports this week. And Motown is spiffing up for an influx of thousands of foreign journalists and auto-industry executives attending the 2012 North American International Auto Show next week — not to mention the other thousands of Michiganders who will attend the public part of the Detroit Auto Show the following week.

So if Detroit lovers could take a snapshot of any particular day and just live in it for a while, without the clock moving forward, January 6th, 2012 might be that day. Nothing has been ideal in fiscally strapped and infrastructure-challenged Detroit for a long time and might never be again, but today's news has presented a trifecta of developments that the city will certainly embrace for a while.Continue reading...

place branding

New York City Hits Record High Tourism in 2011: 50 Million Visitors

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 23, 2011 10:01 AM

The New York Tourism Board has been busy this year, between offering same-sex marriage vacation packages or counting every last visitor that’s come into the Big Apple. That last one has paid off.

The city this week named its honorary 50 millionth visitor in 2011: actually, two of them, a British couple, named Craig Johnson and Lucy Foulger, who were in town to get married at Rockefeller Center. For their efforts, the pair got to spend an hour with Mayor Michael Bloomberg in lovely Times Square. But that’s not all!Continue reading...

place branding

Heard About a Christmas Truce? There's One in the Great Midwest Mitten War

Posted by Dale Buss on December 14, 2011 11:59 AM

At least one geopolitical struggle has eased this holiday season, and a temporary peace reigns — around the Great Lakes, that is. This is because Wisconsin and Michigan appear to have buried the hatchet in their epic struggle over which state has the most legitimate claim to the mitten metaphor to describe the shape of their homeland.

Sounds like big stakes, eh? Well, despite the thorniness of the issue, Michigan and Wisconsin tourism officials today managed to declare a truce in the mitten war and even their joint establishment of a philanthropic effort they're calling The Great Lakes Mitten Campaign.

"We encourage everyone in both states to 'shake hands' and donate mittens to help make this winter a bit warmer for those in need," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in a press statement announcing a handful of mitten-dropoff sites around the state.Continue reading...

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