“TDC Wraps Up It’s Year and Looks Towards 2021”
The Washington County Tourist Development Council (TDC) has had to adapt and change with the state of the pandemic this past year, as has everyone nationwide. Through this difficult time, the TDC has tried to take into consideration the safety of, not only tourists, but residents as well. The TDC is evolving into not only a destination marketing organization but a destination management organization, responsible for marketing our beautiful county as a destination for tourists but also preserving our unique resources and quality of life for its residents.
In the past year, the TDC has continued to pursue its public relations with journalists across the Southeast to keep our destination “top of mind” for when the time was right for tourists to travel. Several stories were generated touting our wide-open spaces and abundant natural resources and outdoor recreation throughout the year, including a feature in several high readership digital and print locations such as the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta 365 Traveler, Narcity and The Gainseville Sun. Our destination was also featured internationally in January 2020 in Montreal, Canada in their newspapers Le Journal de Montreal and The World News. Recently, the TDC has worked with a local blogger, Sarah Blevins on generating stories of locations that day trippers can explore in Washington County as a staycation and still be safe. Two posts have already been released on Econfina Creek and Sunshine Riding Trails with another slated for Orange Hill Gator Farm in April. One of the most unique opportunities was hosting the film crew from “Authentic America” from Nashville, TN to film an episode on exploring Washington County on motorcycle. The episode will air in their next season in spring 2021.
Other than public relations, the TDC did launch two campaigns in September through Visit Florida co-ops. One campaign focused on in-state travelers and the second campaign was a “top of mind” campaign for out-of-state travelers within a 750-mile driving radius. Both campaigns were successful in driving traffic to the TDC website. A Facebook/Instagram social campaign was launched at the same time to promote day trippers in the region to explore Washington County. The TDC has tracked increased engagement with its social channels from this campaign.
Looking towards 2021, the TDC has decided to suspend any winter campaigns after careful discussion of studies done through various tourism economic groups as well as paying close attention to the Florida Public Health database and focus its attention on the spring and summer seasons. This will give the TDC the opportunity to talk with local businesses and formulate a plan that will help the economy of Washington County while keeping its residents safe. The TDC feels that it will come back strong in the second quarter of next year and will be able to support the local businesses that depend on tourism to keep them afloat. We wish everyone happy holidays and a wonderful new year and look forward a brighter future in 2021.