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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...

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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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Gloves Off: Michigan Takes Wisconsin to Task Over Mitten Tourism Pitch

Posted by Dale Buss on December 8, 2011 05:31 PM

It's a border battle fit for the season. And with this new Michigan-Wisconsin dispute comes all the underlying tensions from a long and tenuous adjacency that include zebra mussels, Asian carp, rights to the Upper Peninsula, Packers-Lions, Badgers-Spartans, the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, beach envy, Lake Michigan mineral rights, and which state really has the fattest people.

Yes, Wisconsin's tourism department has appropriated mitten imagery for new web-based winter promotion of its mitten-shaped state. And that has made mavens of mitten-shaped Michigan — well, mightily miffed. The result is a frosty contretemps between pillars of the Upper Midwest that is only likely to get more icy.

You see, Michiganders clearly own the historical and traditional use of their right hands — with fingers straight up and together, they form a perfect mitten shape —when pointing out, usually with their left index fingers, where something is located in the state's Lower Peninsula.Continue reading...

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Nevada Looks to New Brand to Rise Above Vegas Image

Posted by Barry Silverstein on December 1, 2011 01:10 PM

What do you think of when you think of Nevada? Most tourists would answer, "Las Vegas." That's a perception Nevada would like to change.

At the Governor's Conference on Tourism on November 29 (held in Las Vegas, of course), plans for a new branding campaign for the state of Nevada were announced. While state officials were careful not to downplay the value of Las Vegas as a drawing card, they say they want tourists to understand that there's a lot more to Nevada than the glittery lights, extravagant shows, and gambling casinos of "sin city." 

Even the Las Vegas Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, admitted, "We really need to step it up a bit. While we are well known throughout the world, everybody knows we're the entertainment capital of the world and that's us, we need to do more." Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki added, "We are going to transition from what we have and what you can see, to really what you can feel and what you can do."Continue reading...

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Brand USA Aims to Rehab America's Image to Boost Tourism

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 7, 2011 03:31 PM

"Brand USA has arrived, and it is not just a tourism brand,” stated Stephen J. Cloobeck, chairman of Brand USA, at a public unveiling today in London. 

Formerly known as the Corporation for Travel Promotion, Brand USA is the new name for America's tourism body encompassing all 50 states, part of a new national image campaign that has been in the works since last year, when Congress approved the public-private partnership to refresh America's brand with a global campaign pitching the U.S. as a destination to tourists.

As America's national brand, what is Brand USA exactly?Continue reading...

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New Mexico Looking to Prove Its No Snooze

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 4, 2011 01:01 PM

The state of New Mexico turns 100 in January but most Americans — or non-Americans, for that matter — apparently still don’t know or understand its charms just yet. When focus group members were asked to describe the state, words and phrases like “snooze,” “close to Arizona,” and “dull” came up. 

That’s not a good feeling for state tourism execs (or locals), so tourism officials are preparing to embark on a rebrand that has them thinking more about how to lure more visitors into the state rather than how to service the ones that are already there, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Despite gorgeous scenery, draws such as Santa Fe and Taos, and a rich cultural heritage to draw on, "We suffer from low awareness and damaging misperceptions," State Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson told attendees at a conference held by the New Mexico tourism association.Continue reading...

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Don't Mess With Texas or its Slogans

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 5, 2011 10:02 AM

The statehouse in Austin, Texas, is exactly one foot taller than the U.S. Capitol Building, just so folks in the Lone Star State can claim some “bigger is better” notion. 

Whatever that extra foot means, one thing is clear: Don’t mess with the Texas government. The state’s Department of Transportation recently showed its heft by winning a lawsuit against an individual for the rights to DontMessWithTExas.com, according to Domain Wire News

The slogan was originally created in the 1980s as part of an anti-litter campaign, the site notes, but “the department has been more aggressive about protecting the trademark of late as people have started to disassociate the slogan with the anti-litter campaigns and it has brought on more of a generic meaning.” Previously, the DOT owned the rights to DontMessWithTexas.org.

Austin Business Journal reported recently that the Texas DOT attempted to halt the publication of a romance novel entitled, you guessed it, “Don’t Mess With Texas.” 

Domain News Wire notes that the DOT “made a big mistake in how it argued the case,” claiming that the domain name was registered in 1996, “which predated the federal trademark registration for the slogan,” but the domain actually wasn’t registered until after the trademark was registered.

Bottom line: Don't mess with Texas — or its slogans!

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I Love NY Logo Brings in Bucks for New York State

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 20, 2011 10:08 AM

When New York State was trying to lure in tourists in the late ‘70s and commissioned the creation of the famous “I Love New York” song and corresponding, it likely had no idea that more than 30 years later, it would be making big bucks from licensing the logo to a wide variety of products.

While many assume it's a campaign touting the Big Apple, it's actually a state tourism and economic development-boosting slogan.

NY State began licensing the logo in 1994, New York Daily News reports, bringing in more than $1.83 million in licensing fees for it in fiscal 2011, up from $1.5 million the previous year.

"It is a multimillion-dollar licensing program that continues to grow," said Empire State Development Corp. spokesman Austin Shafran to the Daily News.

Some of that growth will be found in the sale of such products that incorporate the brand as high-end t-shirts, perfume, and spring water that can be licensed and sold in such places as England and Italy, the paper reports. There is even some consideration of opening an “I Love NY” store, apparently.

"We are huge in Japan," Samira Ali of CMG Worldwide, the state's licensing agent, told the Daily News. "That is our second-largest market."

Or as ESDC vice president Maha Eltobgy puts it: "Everybody in the world loves that logo.”

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