Tourism Office Grants Mesa Funds to Kick-Start
Promotional Efforts to Gateway Region – Gilbert & Queen Creek Oct. 6, 2009 (MESA, Ariz.) – Mesa tourism officials are hoping to lure this season’s out-of-state visitors to continue their experience south and east of the city when visiting this winter. In late August, the Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau was awarded grant funding for a new marketing partnership through the Arizona Office of Tourism’s Arizona Regional Marketing and EZ Marketing programs. These long-standing statewide grant programs enable local communities to promote their visitor destinations in addition to what the state agency already does to promote Arizona as a travel destination.  The grant monies are being used to form the Gateway Regional Visitor Partnership, an alignment between the Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau with the Chambers of Commerce in Gilbert and Queen Creek that will help market the region to potential visitors and tourists already staying in Mesa.  The partnership has been funded with $17,500 of state tourism grant funds which are then matched with the same amount, primarily supported by the Mesa CVB along with limited monetary support from the chambers.  A total of $35,000 will be spent branding what civic leaders have titled the “Gateway” region to potential tourists this fiscal year which runs through June 2010. Starting this month, the Mesa CVB will actively market the joint communities with the launch of a new travel website portal, where visitors can then get one-click access to more information offered by the communities established resource websites. A second website portal,, will also be marketed intended to brand the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport with the Southeast communities. Additional marketing efforts, primarily in the form of targeted e-newsletter and online advertising are also currently underway.  “With the expanded air service, more and more visitors are stepping onto Gateway soil and seeking out the things to do and experience in the area,” said President & CEO Robert Brinton of the Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This grant will allow us to be even more effective in answering those questions by promoting the nearby towns and offerings and keeping those valuable tourism dollars closer to Mesa.”   With destinations facing a predicted turbulent travel season, joint marketing efforts offer another way to remain aggressive with destination promotion. The Arizona Office of Tourism recognizes the appeal joint-marketing a destination can have for visitors and have awarded many rural and urban communities for similar efforts through their grant program. “When you can market a specific region of the state you can incorporate many of the area’s smaller attractions, such as the local museums, shops and restaurants to give visitors a more well-rounded Arizona experience,” said Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Regional promotion also gives us the opportunity to highlight areas of the state that visitors might otherwise miss.”   For the past decade, the Mesa bureau has helped promote Gilbert and Queen Creek to visitors in their materials including an entire page in the Official Mesa Visitors Guide dedicated to promoting the neighboring cities and including businesses in the listings throughout the guidebook. The bureau has hosted media, travel agents and tour operators seeking out unique attractions in these towns as their proximity to Mesa is appealing for groups wanting to see what lies outside the city border. The Gateway partnership is the second alliance the Mesa CVB has created with neighboring cities. The Mesa CVB is also part of a Sunny Arizona, a seven-year partnership with Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau and Chandler Tourism also supported through Arizona Office of Tourism grants.  “It’s a step in the right direction to getting the southeast Valley recognized as a tourism draw,” said Milt Fort, director of marketing for the Mesa CVB. “These towns boast authentic, only-in-Arizona experiences and attractions that compliment Mesa’s offerings. We know our visitors are seeking out these areas when they stay in Mesa.”  ###MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Streeter, Director of Public Relations, Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau
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