Tourism Grant Awarded

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

Nov. 21, 1996

Tourism Grant to Help Promote River Valley

The St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance has been awarded a $25,000 grant to help underwrite a major promotional campaign to bolster tourism during the Riverway's off-peak season.

UW-River Falls, which is a member of the Alliance's executive board, will serve as the fiscal agent for the grant.

The Alliance received notification from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism on Nov. 11 that it was awarded the money under the department's Joint Effort Marketing Program. The six-county, bi-state Alliance is also seeking funding from the Minnesota Office of Tourism to assist the campaign.

The grants will be used for a promotional campaign targeted toward tourists from Iowa, Northern Illinois, the Dakotas and Kansas City through a "Seasons on the Scenic St. Croix Valley" campaign that will be conducted from late January through early March.

Sheryl E-Marshall, Alliance president, said the campaign will fulfill a priority marketing concern that was set when the alliance formed in 1994.

"Our goal has been to market the Scenic St. Croix Valley to tourism audiences that traditionally have not been reached on a continuing basis by the individual communities in their own marketing activities.

"This campaign also is seeking to 'widen the shoulders' of the tourism season. Typically, the Valley is a busy place from May through January. But the industry has few events to draw visitors during the off-peak months. 'Seasons on the Scenic St. Croix Valley' will fill that void," Marshall said. The campaign will feature two components:

  • A Valley-wide map and a description of each community emphasizing the unique cultural and historical content of the Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, and its diverse recreational and tourism opportunities.

  • A coupon book with discounts for upscale businesses, including Marinas, Ski Resorts, Community Theaters, Museums, Restaurants, Lodging, Beds & Breakfasts, Specialty Retail Establishments, and Performing Arts. This will feature 2-for-1 discounts or a minimum value of $10.
  • The Wyman Performance Series and the St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre both will be participating in the discount coupon promotional campaign.

    Some 25,000 of the map and discount coupon packets will be distributed free to prospective tourists through a direct mail campaign as well as readership response to magazine and newspaper advertising. Potential visitors can obtain the packaet by calling the Alliance's toll free number or by requesting it by completing a form on its World Wide Web site (http://www.uwrf.edu/scvrta). Additionally, they will be distributed through the Minnesota Office of Tourism during their participation in sports and outdoor shows in Chicago, Des Moines and Minneapolis.

    According to E-Marshall, the Alliance board members will soon be contacting businesses to finalize their participation in the coupon book. The cost per business is $199, with the book limited to 125 businesses on a first-come, first-served basis.

    "This is a real bargain for the tourism and hospitality industry," E-Marshall said. "With the underwriting of the Wisconsin and Minnesota Tourism Departments, the cost to a business for each customer contact is just eight-tenths of one cent."

    Coordinating the project are Alliance members Dottie Mau of Lakeland, Michelle Jacobs of the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce, Chris White of Stillwater Area Chamber & Visitors Bureau, Mary Claire Olson of the Hudson Area Chamber & Visitors Bureau, Jay Griggs of Hudson, and Mark Kinders of UW-River Falls, who serves as the Alliance's marketing chair.

    For more information on the promotional campaign, contact E-Marshall at 715/425-2533.



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