Vermont Pushes Tourism in Ad Campaign

By Isabelle Dietz

Vermont is just coming off a strong, potentially record-breaking tourism season this year partly thanks to a new advertising campaign designed by the state. Governor Peter Shumlin discussed the positive impact that tourism has on Vermont in a press conference last Tuesday.

The extensive advertising campaign of $310,000 – an effort by lawmakers to lure visitors from major New England cities such as Boston and New York – includes the website www.VermontVacation.com/fall. The website features a foliage forecaster of the state that estimates peak foliage days for areas in Vermont.

The website explains that, “Leaves change color based on a variety of factors including light level, temperature, soil conditions and more. Here in Vermont, the color starts in northern regions and at higher elevations, progressing southward and downward into the valleys.”

The site also lists available lodging packages, driving suggestions, and events. It even links to a Vermont Tourism Youtube channel. Beer tasting and covered bridges, two of the state’s tourism attractions, were also discussed on the website.

In addition to the advertisement campaign, the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing helps sponsor some small tourist attraction programs, such as the “Apples to iPods” program in which apple pickers who find wooden apples in participating orchards can claim Apple iPods.

“Given the importance of this industry to Vermont’s economy and job creation,” Shumlin said. “I’m thrilled we’ve had such a strong year, and I am committed to doing what it takes to ensure visitors across the globe know how much Vermont has to offer.”

According to Shumlin, more than four million people from all over the world came to visit Vermont this summer.  Tax revenues from Meals and Rooms were up 6.9 percent this September from last year. Room sales were up 11.2 percent from April through June.

The heightened tourism this summer bodes well for the autumn, traditionally the most lucrative season for the state.

The tourism industry in Vermont generates the state an average of $460 million every fall.

“Columbus Day holiday weekend is the busiest of the year in Vermont,” Shumlin said. “With visitors heading to hiking trails, inns and lodges, museums, restaurants and other attractions across the entire state.”

Tourism from September through November need not be concentrated in specific tourism destinations when colorful leaves can be seen from every part of Vermont.

“Vermont’s tourism economy continues to gain momentum year after year as development in our sector continues to grow,” said Megan Smith, Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing. “Investments in Vermont’s infrastructure and tourism facilities have helped to support this growth. Vermont’s strong reputation for outdoor recreation, unparalleled beauty and an unspoiled landscape have contributed to our strong tourism economy. It’s important that we keep these attributes in mind as our industry grows.”

To make sure that the strong wave of tourism continues throughout the winter, the Department of Tourism and Marketing is working on a $350,000 Vermont winter advertisement campaign.