Campaign starts to promote region’s tourism opportunities


There is a new website and social media campaign geared toward boosting tourism in the North San Diego region.

The site — VisitNorthSanDiego.com — was created by the North San Diego Business Chamber.

It helps those living in the area and those seeking a day trip or weekend experience in San Diego find a wide variety of choices that do not focus on the typical San Diego tourist destinations, according to Debra Rosen, NSDBC president and CEO.

“North San Diego is a hidden gem,” Rosen said. “(Visitors) think of the Gaslamp and beaches and do not think of North San Diego. (But they) can be here an entire weekend and not have seen one-tenth of it. We want to bring the weekend (tourists) … who will experience no parking problems or paid parking. It’s a totally different experience (here).”

North San Diego is defined as the area north of Interstate 8 and south of the San Diego/Riverside county line, Rosen said.

The website is divided into eight categories. The first set of offerings are adventure, tempting taste buds, playing, 21-plus experience, romance, family fun, cultural inspiration and recharging. These categories are subject to change each quarter because “we want to keep it fresh,” Rosen said.

Once a category is clicked, there are subcategories. For example, under “adventure” one can find listings for beaches, botanic gardens, campgrounds, fishing, gliderports, go kart racing, hiking trails, hotels, lakes, motels, nature reserves, parks, RV parks, tourism information and travel agencies. Under “cultural inspiration” there are listings for art galleries, botanic gardens, casinos/gaming, historical societies, museums, performing arts centers, sculpture gardens, theaters and tourism information.

Each subcategory has chamber members and non-members providing the stated service listed. Chamber members are at the top and they can include website links and discount promotions. They will also be able to track how many of their website visitors originated through the tourism website. Non-member listing include address and phone number. If non-members would like to be listed for free they can contact the chamber at 858-487-1767.

There is also a blog story section where more details are given about various options. Rosen said these are to be written by those who have a great experience to share, not a business writing about itself.

“If you experienced a great hike or restaurant, had an amazing experience at one of our tourism venues send (in a story),” she said. “This is not meant as advertising, but describing an experience … discovering hidden gems.”

Rosen said the tourism campaign has a two-part focus — a social media campaign and calendar of events.

The social media campaign is focused on two markets. One is the weekend traveler, mostly driving from Los Angeles and Orange counties, Arizona and desert cities. The tag line for this group’s campaign is “Half the distance, twice the fun,” she said. The chamber has hired the Innovision Marketing Group to proactively promote via social media to this clientèle, especially those ages 30-plus who, for example, are wine connoisseurs or into casino gaming.

The other target market is locals, who will also be proactively sought via social media and email blasts. The website includes a link where people can subscribe to an email blast database in order to receive weekly alerts to things they might want to do in North San Diego over the upcoming weekend. To encourage participation those who register will be entered into a prize drawing.

The calendar of events will be frequently updated to promote activities in the region. For example, these could be Restaurant Week, Brewery Week or one-time activities like a 5K or beer festival run by a local organization. Groups will be able to post their events via the website or by contacting Kruti Gandhi at 858-487-1767 or kruti@sdbusiness chamber.com.

Rosen said the idea to market the region’s tourism options came up nine months ago at one of the chamber’s Insights breakfasts when the economic impact of tourism was discussed. With one out of every six jobs or businesses in the region somehow tied to tourism it made sense to proactively promote the industry.

Harrah’s Resort Southern California and Pala Casino Spa Resort were brought on as title sponsors, with 100 percent of the $22,000 thus raised through sponsorships going directly to the marketing efforts, Rosen said, adding, “None of it goes to administrative costs.”

The website is experiencing a “soft launch” right now, with the full tourism campaign slated to launch on May 1, she said.

Email: rbnews@pomeradonews.com



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