Often during election seasons, you will hear candidates and their advisers talk about staying "on message"... that is, to not get distracted by tangential topics or issues that would take the focus from where it belongs—on that which is official and most important.

During 2019, GRCVB will also be staying “on message,” reinforcing the key ideas that are most important to the work we do and to our role as destination champions in Wake County.

For 2019, those key talking points are:

1 The value of tourism

We realize we talk about this a lot already, and we hope you understand why tourism matters economically. But we believe it is imperative that local hospitality partners, other business leaders and elected officials grasp fully what tourism brings to our area, why the work of GRCVB is instrumental and how tourism impacts quality of place for Wake County.

2 Destination 2028

If tourism matters today, it is crucial that we plan for it for tomorrow.

You probably know that, in 2018, GRCVB worked with JLL on a comprehensive Destination Strategic Plan (DSP) for Wake County, looking ahead to what tourism can and ought to look like here 10 years from now. Once you understand how valuable tourism is as an economic development approach, it makes sense to study carefully how it can be managed, enhanced and made even more beneficial in the future.

Since the DSP's debut in August 2018, we have been working diligently on staging the implementation of the plan. We have met with every community in the county about portions relevant to them, and that includes the City of Raleigh. We are close to announcing the name of our new director of destination development, a contract position being hired by GRCVB to help countywide. 

The DSP highlights eight priorities for 10-year implementation by all of us working together (go to visitRaleigh.com/2028 for details). The Bureau and local partners will be focusing our attention on the plan's near-term priorities, with the first steps to be accomplished throughout 2019.

3 The destination brand

You will remember that, in 2014-2015, we commissioned a different study, from Development Counsellors International, to help us clearly rearticulate our destination brand strategy. (The research and results of the study can be found at www.raleighncbrand.com.) To quote from the positioning statement which came from the study, the quality that sets Raleigh, N.C., apart from other competing destinations is this—

Smart and savvy locals are the lifeblood of the city, the brains behind its educational institutions, renowned research facilities, historic preservation efforts and enviable rankings for a quality of life that is physically represented through lush greenways and natural parklands. Travelers intrigued by Raleigh’s long list of superlatives will discover that its entrepreneurial locals are responsible for its emerging success and for the fostering of its cultural heartbeat, including museums, arts, live music, craft culinary and beverage scene, handcrafted goods and historic experiences

It’s the creative energy of our people that make the Raleigh area unique. Since 2015, we have highlighted many passionate minds from the hospitality industries in our promotions to attract more leisure, convention and sports business here. And in 2019, you will be hearing new voices, seeing new faces and learning about what these “passionate minds” have been dreaming about and planning to bring to pass in Raleigh/Wake County this year. 

The DSP's research confirmed that we're on the right track with our tourism brand strategy; however, GRCVB can do more to build the brand with customers/prospects and to integrate and embed the brand strategy into all touchpoints of area tourism. Our hotels, restaurants, attractions and even our area municipalities can help.

1—The Value of Tourism
2—Destination 2028
3—The Destination Brand

These are our talking points for 2019. You will be hearing much more about each of these ideas throughout the year. #tourismmatters