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Q: Promote tourism in a city ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Promote tourism in a city
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: patrako-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 03 Sep 2002 14:45 PDT
Expires: 03 Oct 2002 14:45 PDT
Question ID: 61387
how to promote a city toruist industry and change the city image?
Subject: Re: Promote tourism in a city
Answered By: knowledge_seeker-ga on 03 Sep 2002 18:13 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi patrako

This is a big question! There are many ways and many steps needed to
change a city’s image and promote tourism to that city. What I will do
here is give you as many examples as I can find on how other cities
(and even countries!) have done this and let you draw from those to
see what works for your city.


Ask yourself what your city has to offer a tourist. What is the draw?
Why should anyone visit?  Shopping? Local culture? Museums? Shows?
Music? Scenery? Sports? Beaches? Mountains? Handcrafts? Historic
region?  Adventure travel? Leisure? Camping? Amusement parks? Casinos?

Make a list. Before anyone can be convinced to visit your city, YOU
need to know what the draw is.


Your city should have a Tourism Commission made up of business
leaders, residents, and political members. The commission should
formulate long-term and short-term goals for sustainable tourism.
Again, the main question your commission must be able to answer is,

“The Calgary Convention and Visitor’s Bureau brings together about 600
Calgary and area tourism stakeholders. These partners pool resources
for strategic initiatives to promote Calgary and area as a preferred
leisure travel destination.”

“…. city of Davis' committee working to promote Davis as a tourism
destination. Davis hoteliers formed a business improvement district to
raise money for tourism and marketing efforts, with the city and
university contributing. This past year significant amount of work was
completed, including development of a visitor Web site , completion of
promotional materials for visitors and event planners, creation of
tourist activities by category (e.g. family activity, the arts,
entertainment, agriculture, etc.). "A coordinated effort to promote
tourism makes good use of a community's existing resources and can
result in a whole greater than the sum of the parts," she says.”



Make sure hotels, roads, signage, tourist destinations, public
transportation, safety issues (police, fire and health services),
restaurants, and all other infrastructure of your city are up to date
and prepared for tourists.

“In the case of tourist sites located away from the main
transportation network, availability of suitable transport, and
physical conditions of the roads are major problem areas. Such
deficiencies have adversely affected the tourism potential of these

“The first on his list of goals is to maintain cleanliness, safety and
order in all tourist areas within the country. "By emphasizing
increased highway administration, additional signposting and
enforcement of local ordinances, we plan to improve general order
throughout the country,"

“Improving access to the state's various tourist attractions, whether
through better signage, additional ferry runs or snow removal is one
of the key issues being raised at the upcoming Washington State
Tourism Policy Summit in Seattle next month.”


You’ll need money to promote your city. One good way is to use hotel
taxes to fund part of your promotion effort.

“Hotel tax needed to offset city’s ‘inadequate’ marketing: hoteliers”

Wilmington, N.C., City Council Holds Meeting on Hotel Room Tax

Tourism and Marketing Tax - Philadelphia


“Years ago, Costa Rica took the lead in attracting tourism to Central
America, by offering very affordable subsidized packages that even
included first class hotel accommodations with their bargain air fares
on LACSA, the national airline.”


Promote the best features of your city via a professional website –
examples include:

Or in tourism or travel magazines

Lists of Travel Magazines


Send press releases to all major news organizations to let them know
that your city is “open for business”

“The Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association's
communications team works closely with travel writers, national and
international press, convention trade media and the local media to
develop stories on Baltimore. The department aggressively promotes
Baltimore by helping the press gather information and set up


The people who live in your city must have a positive image of it so
they can spread the word.  Use local publicity to make sure they are
armed with all of the most updated information on what exciting things
are happening in your city so they can tell others.


Here’s a sample list of Toursism trade shows in the world in 2000

This is a list of eco-tourism trade shows for 2002

“Halifax will act as the gateway to Atlantic Canada for more than
1,500 delegates at Rendez-vous Canada 2002, Canada’s premier tourism
marketplace hosted by the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership (ACTP)
from May 18 to 22.”


Politicians strip to promote tourism

“The Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT), which Hunt chairs, has
teamed up with rural communities in a 3-day festival called “Cowboys
and Indians Old West Fest” that will give visitors from around the
world a touch and taste of the Silver State.”


“In September, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation
will launch a CD-ROM called “Philadelphia Speaks” which will feature
the Anthem as the foundation to an interactive tour of our region to
promote tourism.”

Historic Kansai:'Takoyaki dance' attracting tourism attention in Osaka

“In Osaka City, Universal Studios Japan is crowded with visitors, and
the tourism industry and municipal government are racking their brains
to make the entire city area lively to attract people. This takoyaki
[dancing] course appears to be quite popular, and there are moves to
popularize the course in other parts of the city.


“The University of California, Davis, has campus experts available to
provide commentary related to travel and tourism -- from traveling
with kids or pets to accompanying researchers on expeditions in exotic
places to attracting tourism to one local community.”


Tourism manuals by Gull Publishing


Shanghai, China

“Tourism has become a pillar in the city's tertiary industry. It
creates both jobs and profits. In 1999, the city cashed in $1.36
billion from 1.66 million overseas tourists and 71.9 billion yuan
($8.7 billion) from 75 million Chinese mainland tourists. And the
revenue from tourism accounted for 4.9 per cent of the city's total
GDP in 1999.”

Baltimore, Maryland, USA
From industrial city to cultural center --

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

That should give you a good start in helping your city promote itself
and increase tourism.  I’ve tried to use examples of cities and venues
of all sizes and from around the world in order to give you a wide
perspective on this topic.  If anything I’ve said isn’t clear, please
feel free to ask for a clarification.


search terms
"how to" "promote tourism"
"attracting tourism"

Request for Answer Clarification by patrako-ga on 04 Sep 2002 19:16 PDT
Hi K

Thanks for your answer.  Well, I need some help on "LET YOUR RESIDENTS

Actually, I am doing a case study in promoting the tourism industry in
City of Daugavpils in Latvia.  Although this city is the second
largest in Latvia, it has quite a poor image.  Citizen percept their
city as poor and they would prefer to live in another city rather than
in "Daugavpils".  Is there any way to change their preception.

Clarification of Answer by knowledge_seeker-ga on 05 Sep 2002 15:14 PDT
Hi again patrako, 

The problem you are facing with your city is a fairly common one. And
yes, there are ways to change the perception of the city’s
inhabitants, but it is a complex and long-term process that involves
an entire identity change for the city. In other words, first change
the city, and the people’s perception will follow.

I have been to your city website and, as I understand it Daugavpils is
primarily an industrial city. Many of your residents must be factory
workers and other laborers and much of the city appears to be devoted
to industrial plants.

I also see that the city has some important historical ties and is
surrounded by some rather beautiful countryside. Your abundant rivers
and lakes and conservation wilderness areas are a lovely attraction
that could be the basis of a fine tourist industry.

What I would suggest -- since changing the perception of people is a
complex process; more complex than I could ever expound here – is that
you contact cities that have already done exactly what you intend to
do. You can learn from those who have already done this.

Here are some cities that have very successfully made the transition
from Industrial cities to tourist destinations. I have included links
to their websites and some pertinent quotes. I am sure any one of
these cities would be happy to share information with you regarding
their process for change.

Hamilton Ontario Canada ---

“There are several projects that invite public input and
participation. Some of the Downtown Initiatives that are currently
active have Open Houses and Town Hall meetings for members of the
general public to attend.

VISION 2020 / ACTION 2020 also has opportunities for citizen
Clean Air Hamilton and its working groups are also open to public
involvement. More information can be found at the Clean Air Hamilton


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

“Positioned at the confluence of three rivers: the Monongahela,
Allegheny, and Ohio, made it a natural center for commerce, the city
was founded in 1758 and became known for its heavy steel and
industrial empire.

Today, with a metro population of 2.3 million greater Pittsburgh is
successfully transitioning from stodgy gray Steeltown to the forefront
of modern medicine, banking and corporate headquarters. It is
internationally known for its pioneering role in medical research and
technology in organ transplant surgery, diabetes, cardiology, and
cardiothoracic surgery. The business community is led by several
Fortune 500 headquarters including USX, Alcoa, HJ Heinz, Mellon Bank,
and Allegheny Teledyne. Sports are big here as well, with three pro
baseball, football and hockey teams.”


Cleveland Ohio USA

“Resting on the shores of Lake Eerie, Cleveland has grown from a small
frontier outpost to one of America's major metropolitan centers.
Formerly an industrial, dirty and smoky city built around the steel
mill industry, Cleveland has changed for the better and is making a

… Home to reportedly one of the most diverse populations in the
nation, Cleveland has many cultural and historic sites and attractions
for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors alike. Museums
include the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Children's Museum,
Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, and Cleveland Museum of Natural
History. The zoo has all of your favorite animals plus a
multimillion-dollar indoor Tropical Rain Forest. The Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame is also here, plus just a short 75 minute drive away in
nearby Canton, Ohio you'll find the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”


Baltimore Maryland USA

“It is called "Charm City" for its residents' well-established concern
for the quality of life and its human scale enabling you to explore
the city core on foot, light rail, trolley bus and water taxi.”

“Few national attractions are more worthy to explore than the Inner
Harbor, with its attractive marriage of brick-lined waterfront
promenade, public and private development, and activity magnets. The
synergy they create is a text book study in urban design.”

“Baltimore ranks fifth among U.S. ports, with major railways and
trucking lines carrying cargo to and from docks at Canton Bay and
Curtis Bay, as well as raw materials to the area's many factories.
Major industries here include import and export, steel manufacturing,
tourism, high finance, and medicine.”


Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA

“The MAPS project in Oklahoma City has had great success in turning
this humdrum capital city into a tourist destination. They renovated a
desolate, rundown industrial area near downtown, turning it into an
oasis with a mini-riverwalk, classy restaurants, a sports arena, and
entertainment venues. There is also additional tourist interest in the
Oklahoma City National Memorial on the site of the former Murrah
Building. While the tragedy of the bombing is still strongly felt by
the city, the resourceful residents have seen a phoenix grow from the
ashes, and OKC's economic outlook is promising.”

[credit to Pinkfreud-ga for the above]

MAPS project: 

Bricktown area, which turned an industrial area into a tourist haven:


Now, closer to home --- These documents (all in PDF format) may prove
to be useful to you, if nothing more than to give you more people to
contact.  ---


 “This report concerns an evaluation of eleven technical assistance
projects in Central and Eastern Europe, combining institution building
in private sector service  organisations with assistance directly at
the enterprise level. The projects include capacity building of
Chambers of Commerce in Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad and Bosnia
Herzegovina, female entrepreneurship training in Poland and Swedish
advisers working in specially selected industries in Latvia and
Lithuania (Swedish Baltic Corps, SBC).


“Poland is located on the 12th position of the WTO list of the most
visited countries of the world, with 17,4 million visitors who spent
at least one night in Poland in 2000. In 2000, arrival tourism foreign
exchange income amounted to 6,1 billion USD and placed Poland on the
20th position in the world. It is estimated that in 1999 the number of
foreign visitors will decrease. The main obstacles to pursuing
sustainable development include:  insufficient number of eco-tourist
centres – intensive development of eco-tourism in some areas may cause
their destruction; lack of cooperation between social Groups; lack of
interest in development of tourism economy from Polish banks part;
lack of preference credits for nature-based tourism investments; low
eco-tourism awareness among local authority and country inhabitants;
and, unsanitary conditions in the country areas.”   [see page


Finally, one thing that must happen to make any civic program work is
to involve the residents in the formation of your “new” image. This is
going to be key!  People take pride in things that they have helped
accomplish. They have to feel like they are part of the process, and
not just being told what to do. Make sure that any initiatives your
city establishes have the complete participation of residents. GET
PEOPLE INVOLVED! Invite them to meetings, ask for suggestions, and use
their ideas. If they feel like they own it they will be proud of it.

Best of luck in your endeavour.  Maybe someday I’ll be fortunate
enough be a tourist in Daugavpils.  I trust you’ll tell me where the
best place to eat is. :-)

patrako-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
The answer was great and the researcher provided a lot of information
and examples for helping me to solve my question.  I think it's worth.
 Thanks a lot!

Subject: Re: Promote tourism in a city
From: intotravel-ga on 26 Dec 2002 19:27 PST
Another couple of points.

1. Use EVENTS to highlight "a different kind of city". 
   Examples of events. Storytelling conferences. Writers' festivals.
Festivals for children or families or ... skateboarders! Summer
schools. Business conferences. Marketing seminars. Music.
   Some events have their own drawing power, and some have their own
audiences: for example, where they can meet someone famous (or valued
in their particular field of work or interest) or learn something they
value or which will be valuable in their career or hobbies.

    Examples of this.
For a small town in a distant part of Ireland, a long-running
festival, made all the more popular because a beloved writer John B.
Keane lives there.
       "Writers' Week Listowel is now firmly established as Ireland's
leading literary festival. It prides itself on the fact that many of
the current galaxy of best selling Irish authors began their first
tentative steps at developing their writing skills at the workshops in

Other small towns have followed this lead, with summer schools and
dancing classes and classes in learning Irish, and so on.


    Willie Clancy Summer School
    Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, Ireland 

    Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival
    Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, Ireland  (content can't be copied)
   The festival has a whimsical, jokey image; also described as
Europe's largest singles festival

More on Lisdoonvarna: "thousands descend upon the small town in west
Clare every September and October to indulge themselves in all the
town has to offer... Given the hectic pace of modern life it is hardly
surprising that people turn to the likes of Willie Daly, Ireland’s
last surviving matchmaker, to bring joy and happiness into their lives
(in return for a small fee, naturally)."

  < Lisdoonvarna is also known locally, in Ireland, for its
outstanding traditional music festival, and for a song on the event
written by Christy Moore. However, matchmaking has made more of an
impact on cyberspace than the fiddle players and the bodhrans, hence
the urls given above. (Lesson: get your events into the search
engines!) >

List of summer schools at: 

There is/was also:

     Irish International Cartoon Festival
     Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow
 -- can't find the website, here's one for the county:  "Rathdrum has
made significant development in recent years and has become
internationally recognised as a major tourist centre through the
introduction of the J. M. Synge Summer School, the Parnell Summer
School. The International Cartoon Festival has made Rathdrum the
centre of the cartooning world."

   Humbert Summer School
   Ballina and Killala, Co Mayo, Ireland
The reason for this festival is that a French general once landed on
the west coast of Ireland, a General Humbert, and he came too late to
help a rebellion.
    Again, there is no website for this coming up on the first page of
google. However, the event is listed on,, for 2003.  This
festival usually takes a topical political issue for its main subject,
and asks speakers well known to the political class, like John Hume
This year the topic is "How September 11th changed the world." 

My other suggestion is: 

2. Look for DYNAMIC people to stimulate and  organize this change in
   The dynamic could be anyone with any kind of motivation --
businesspeople looking to improve their environment in a practical
way, entrepreneurs, teenagers, you name it, and encourage them to come
up with ideas, and organize ... anything from the clean-up of a city
district to a Europe-wide sporting match to a lively website, or set
of websites..

   Again, a local example.  The Eurovision Song Contest took place in
a small Irish town, Millstreet, Co Cork, in 1993, because of the
lobbying and organizing spirit of a local businessman, Noel C. Duggan.
(Mr Duggan had built an equestrian centre which he saw could be
adapted for other purposes.)

   "Millstreet nestles at the foot of the Claragh Mountains and is
practically surrounded on all sides by hills and mountains.... In 1993
the Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast from this small town to over
300 million viewers throughout Europe..."
(This town is so small that the address of the local tourist office is
"Millstreet, Co Cork"!)

   "The population of the town at 1,500 is very conscious of the rich
traditions and culture of the locality .... The local community spirit
has often been commented upon .... during the preparations for the
1993 Eurovision Song Contest ... this generous spirit truly shone.
Since that very historic 15th May in 1993 ... the name of Millstreet
has become famous."

  Once again, I notice in searching for a reference to this town  
-- using the words, eurovision song contest cork ireland Millstreet --
that a website for the town does not come up on the first page of
google, if there is one. For the town as a whole to reap more benefit
from their celebrity, a more targeted website would have been useful.

 <Hope this is useful. Best wishes.>

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