University of Wisconsin-River Falls

News Source

April 16, 2004


St. Croix Valley Campaign Gets National Recognition

A promotional campaign to boost winter tourism in the St. Croix Valley has received national recognition.

A media kit of releases and a CD produced by the St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance has received an "Award of Distinction" through The Communicators Awards program. The international competition was judged by communication professionals.

The publicity campaign was in conjunction for the Alliance's "Celebrate Winter on the Sparkling St. Croix," which received grant funding from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and the Minnesota Office of Tourism.

According to SCVRTA President Mark Kinders, the recognition was for exceptional work produced through a collaborative effort.

"This project drew on the talents of many people in the St. Croix Valley who told a compelling story of what the region has to offer in winter tourism. Winter time is historically a 'shoulder season' when businesses are economically stressed. The Communicators Awards program was a great way for us to be told that we took the right approach to gaining visibility for the region."

The kit included news releases on such activities as state parks recreational activities, down hill skiing, community events and festivals, arts and cultural activities, hot air ballooning and a lodging directory. The CD provided the releases in electronic format, along with photographs and a 90-second movie featuring Valley attractions.

The releases and video can be seen on the Alliance's site at www.saintcroixriver.com.

Kinders, who coordinated the campaign, noted the "Celebrate Winter" campaign was launched three years ago in response to the economic stress on the regional industry as a result of the September 11th attacks, a deteriorating economy, war jitters, and several continuing winters of little snowfall.

Other components of the campaign included participating in tourism shows in Des Moines and Minneapolis, as well as undertaking three media familiarization tours.

Participating in the media kit project were the UW-RF Office of Public Affairs, Voila MediaGroup of River Falls, Moonshadow Design of River Falls, Digital Garage of Hudson, and the River Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. UW-RF also acted as the fiscal agent for the grants.

The competition was open to corporations, non-profits, government agencies, public relations houses, and higher education institutions. Among the other award winners were Mayo Clinic, all of the U.S. Military Academies, Harvard Health Publications, Hilton Hotels, the U.S. Department of Defense, Fidelity Investments, the Federal Aviation Administration, Hyundai Motors America, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Mighty Ducks NHL Hockey Club, PARADE Magazine, Rayovac, Salt Lake City CVB, the Kellogg Foundation, the Chicago Tribune, and the Public Relations Society of America.

The Alliance's work on the winter campaign was previously recognized by the Western Wisconsin Synergy Economic Development Conference. Over its 10-year history, the Alliance has emerged as a leading tourism economic development collaboration, with recognition by such organizations as the Council for the Advancement & Support of Education, the NorthernEDGE economic development initiative, the Association of Wisconsin Convention and Visitors Bureaus, and Wisconsin Rural Cooperatives, Inc.

Alliance communities include the Wisconsin communities of Prescott, River Falls, Hudson, New Richmond, Somerset, Osceola, Dresser and St. Croix Falls. Minnesota communities include Hastings, Afton, Lake Elmo, Lakeland, Oak Park Heights, Stillwater, Scandia and Taylors Falls.

Its membership includes 16 chambers of commerce, business associations or economic development corporations, as well as hospitality and tourism businesses, UW-River Falls and the U.S. Park Service.

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