Efforts made possible through $1.25 million in CARES Act funds

Raleigh, N.C. (Oct. 13, 2020) – The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh) was awarded $1.25 million in CARES Act funds by Wake County for the purpose of driving tourism recovery efforts. The funds, which must be utilized before December 30, 2020, will be used to support a comprehensive and robust tourism recovery campaign by Visit Raleigh which includes marketing, advertising, public relations, strategic meetings/convention and sporting event sales efforts and enhanced visitor information services alike.

As is the case across the country, tourism in Wake County has been slow to recover. Hotel occupancy is hovering just over 40% countywide, lost tax revenue topping $15 million and total economic impact from cancelled meetings, conventions and sporting events at more than $135 million.

Consumer confidence remains the biggest barrier to travel and thus messaging for all sales and marketing efforts utilizing these CARES Act Funds will aim to build consumer confidence and inspire travel to Wake County by showcasing all the area has to offer to visitors all while highlighting enhanced safety measures and protocol in place – including a heavy emphasis on Visit NC’s Count On Me NC certification program.

“With hotels, attractions, restaurants and bars all open again in some capacity and consumer confidence growing, now is the perfect time for us to launch a tourism recovery campaign,” said Dennis Edwards, President and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh). “Our message is that Raleigh, N.C. is not only re-open, but safely welcoming visitors once again.”

Details on how Visit Raleigh plans to utilize the CARES Act funds for tourism recovery efforts can be found below:

Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations:

  • Visit Raleigh launched its Wish You Were Here” tourism recovery campaign in August and is supporting it with an extensive paid advertising and promotional campaign through December 30, 2020.
    • This campaign includes:
      • Social media marketing
      • Search engine marketing
      • Digital display and email marketing
      • Streaming video or pre-roll
      • Print and out-of-home placements
      • Streaming audio
    • See below for an example of a promotional video as well as digital ads for the campaign.

WYWH Video Still


  • In partnership Travel South USA, Visit Raleigh is also participating in a travel trade marketing campaign aimed at increasing hotel room night bookings through the world’s leading bedbank, Hotelbeds.
    • The campaign will target over 60,000 travel buyers such as tour operators, retail travel agents, airline websites, and loyalty, points redemption and employee benefits managers in the US, Canada, U.K. and France.
    • The "Authentic South" recovery campaign includes digital advertising, content marketing, social media, video and virtual trainings.
  • In an effort to promote international tourism and increase bookings in 2021, Visit Raleigh is also embarking on a strategic public relations campaign in key target markets of Canada, the U.K. and France. The campaign consists of media relations initiatives including:

Sales Efforts to Attract Meetings, Conventions, Sports and International Visitors:

PR Virtual Trade Show Booth

Virtual Tours and Aerial Video/Photography:

  • Visit Raleigh is working with Threshold 360 and Destination Virtual Tours to create virtual tours and aerial drone footage of key tourism assets within Wake County to be used in future Visit Raleigh proposals for events and conventions, provide inspiration for future leisure visitors and also be viewable for experiential discovery by Wake County residents.
    • 90+ aerial drone video and photo captures of attractions, municipalities and a long list of other county assets. See below for an example.
    • More than 100, 360-degree virtual tours will be created of major meeting hotels, venues and other businesses around the county. See below for an example.

Transfer Co. Virtual Tour

Enhanced visitor information services:

  • Visit Raleigh’s Visitor Information Center, located in the corridor between the Raleigh Marriott City Center and Raleigh Convention Center is also being upgraded, including enhanced technology and safety features to assist visitors looking for tourism information and help planning trips within Wake County.
  • Additionally, two mobile kiosks will be placed in the Raleigh Convention Center to assist visitors attending meetings, conventions, tradeshows and sporting events within the building.

About the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh):
As the official destination marketing organization for Wake County, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh), is responsible for promoting Wake County as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, the organization strengthens the economic position of and provide opportunity for people throughout Wake County. Raleigh, N.C./Wake County welcomes nearly 18 million visitors annually whose spending tops $2.9 billion. The visitor economy supports more than 28,000 local jobs in Wake County and generates $284 million in state and local tax revenues, saving each Wake County household $727 in taxes annually. visitRaleigh.com

Media Contact:
Scott Peacock


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