The Tourism Development Manager continued to work with rural communities to foster visitation to the lesser-known areas of the state. In addition, working with these communities to foster its culture and heritage through various genres of traditional and heritage music and heritage trails and programs across the state. Small towns are an important part of the North Carolina landscape.
Visit North Carolina is actively involved in ongoing programming either independently or in conjunction with partners such as the NC Rural Center, the Department of Commerce's Division of Community Assistance, the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, NC Arts Council, NC Folklife Institute and other entities to foster revitalization that will make the communities more attractive to residents and visitors. To do so, Visit NC's Tourism Development team has:
- Set goals for the Tourism Development Program and improved the delivery of information for the program on the Visit NC website. The effort is designed to make local communities more aware of resources within Visit NC as well as other opportunities for tourism development.
- Gathered information for Visit NC's film office, public relations, domestic marketing and international marketing programs.
- Continued to research available resources in the form of grants, technical assistance and development (state, federal, private philanthropic).
- Made presentations to partners throughout North Carolina on Cultural Heritage Tourism Development and ways to work with Visit NC through its TRAC Program.
- Represented Visit NC in partnership with the African American Heritage Commission.
- Continued to assist with the promotion of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of NC, Freedom Roads, US Civil Rights Trail, NC Civil War Trails, NC Civil Rights Trail and other products in the regions.
- Continued promotion and expand the NC Certified Retirement Community Program.
Tourism Resource Assistance Center (TRAC)
The Tourism Resource Assistance Center (TRAC) was developed along with the Industry Relations Manager to bring Visit NC's program managers to local communities to share and discuss the nuts and bolts of partnering effectively with Visit NC.
TRAC sessions through 2019
- New Bern
- Bryson City
- Outer Banks "Mini TRAC"
- Blowing Rock
- Banner Elk/Beech Mountain
- Mount Airy
- Mars Hill
- Maggie Valley
- Edenton/Chowan Co.
- Burlington/Alamance Co.
- Goldsboro/Wayne Co.
- Belmont/Gaston Co.
Consumer Show Attendance
Visit NC led groups of in-state partners at three Consumers Shows in 2019:
- Travel & Adventure Show DC - Partners (Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, Greenville-Pitt County CVB, High Point CVB, Johnston County Visitors Bureau, Cabarrus CVB, Yadkin Visitors Center, Asheboro CVB, Lexington TDA, Boone and Watauga County TDA)
- NY Times Travel Show - Partners (Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, Greenville-Pitt County CVB, New Bern-Craven County CVC, Rockingham County Economic Development and Tourism, Pender County Tourism, Ocracoke Business Association, Johnston County Visitors Bureau, Island Express Ferry)
- Travel & Adventure Show Philadelphia - Partners (Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, New Bern-Craven County CVC, High Point CVB, Boone and Watauga County TDA, Yadkin County TDA, Greenville-Pitt County CVB, Johnston County Visitors Bureau, Crystal Coast TDA)
Community Partnerships and Heritage Development
Visit NC also continued to be actively engaged in the development of outdoor recreational/ecotourism/agritourism/heritage opportunities in the regions across the state. Farms, waterways, hiking and biking trails, greenways and open spaces are important features in a community that improve and promote quality of life and link people with their natural and cultural heritage. These partnerships include assistance in researching resources for communities, working with communities interested in Tourism Development Authority development, marketing initiatives, heritage trails development and product development plans. Created by congressional legislation, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA) is supported through a partnership with Visit NC to assist in coordinating planning for the 25 counties in the designated region. Visit NC continued to assist in the implementation of the initiatives outlined in each county's heritage plan, and had an active role in assisting the BRNHA in developing, facilitating and guiding communities along the Blue Ridge Parkway for themes such as agriculture, arts and culture, traditional music, history/heritage and natural resources. In addition, Visit NC continued work on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina with the BRNHA and the NC Arts Council to roll out a new book and map guide, as well as collaborated closely with the communities participating in the NC STEP Program through the NC Rural Center and the NC Main Street Program.
North Carolina Civil War Trails
The Civil War Trails Program is marketed in five states - Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina, with more than 1,000 interpretive markers. Visit NC continued to partner with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources to promote the NC Civil War Trails program. Marketing Universals were developed by Civil War Trails Inc. and all five state partners to display the program as the "best" way to experience Civil War history, using social media, print and online advertising.
- An updated Civil War Trails map has been printed and is available online and in all NC Welcome Centers.
- Visitors can download Civil War Trails maps from www.VisitNC.com, receive map guides via mail through the Call Center as well as in the (9) Welcome Centers.
- N.C. has 279 sites in 78 counties.
Cultural Heritage Trails Development
- Assisted in the promotion of the Blue Ridge Music Trails, partnering with the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, NC Arts Council, BRNHA and other communities in the region.
- Assisted in the promotion of the Blue Ridge Craft Trails.
- Worked with Department of Natural & Cultural Resources in the development of the African American Music Trail in the counties of Onslow, Lenoir, Craven, Pitt, Edgecombe, Wilson, Wayne and Greene.
- Worked with the African American Heritage Commission in the development of "Freedom Roads" Underground Railroad Heritage Trail, NC Civil Rights Trail and also collaborated with the Gullah Geechee National Heritage Corridor.
- Continued to work with the NC Folklife Institute to promote the traditional arts of North Carolina.
- Work with Travel South USA US Civil Rights Trail.
Certified Retirement Community Program
The North Carolina Department of Commerce operates a community development program for communities that are positioning for retiree attraction as an economic and community development strategy. The N.C. General Assembly, during the 2008 short session, recognized the inherent panoply of quality living the state offers and established the N.C. Certified Retirement Community Program (S.L. 2008-188) as a vehicle to designate communities offering this unprecedented quality of living sought after by the mature community.
To gain certification, a local government must submit an application for consideration. Initial evaluation of the community and technical assistance is provided by the Department of Commerce's Community Development Division. The designation has a five-year life, after which communities will need to consider recertification at the sunset of the five-year period. Once a community has completed the certification process, Visit NC will help market and promote the community.
- Visit NC worked with the NC Department of Commerce Community Assistance office to administer and review applications.
- Visit NC's Tourism Development Manager continued to make presentations to local county commissions and city managers on the guidelines, requirements and benefits of the program to increase participation.
Visit NC continued to attend conferences on trends, research and developing retirement communities, and serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Retirement Communities (AARC).
Visit NC continued to promote certified communities and areas of North Carolina during the Ideal Living Regional Expos in Long Island, NY; Chicago, IL; Bridgewater, NJ; Greenwich, CT and Washington, D.C. Metro Area.
- 5,500 leads generated
- 985 packets downloads from retirenc.com
- 104 packets mailed through the Call Center
- 1,776 moves to North Carolina
- 372 moves through August 2019 (200 are out of state moves; 172 NC-NC moves)
Visit North Carolina's certified communities include:
- Lumberton (pilot program)
- Mt. Airy
- New Bern
- Jamestown/High Point
- Roanoke Rapids
- Elizabeth City
2019 CRC additions
- Johnston Co.
Visit NC along with NC DNCR were key sponsors at AmericanaFest in Nashville to celebrate NC's Year of Music. Education and artist showcases featuring North Carolina music and artists.