Members of the Mount Airy Tourism Development Authority met yesterday to discuss updating the city’s tourism website so that it will have a more modern feel in order to attract more visitors to the area.
Jessica Icenhour Roberts, tourism director for the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, told the board that Kimberly Seipel-Parks of West Depot Creative had given her a proposal of $1,150 to redesign the Mount Airy’s tourism logo and $18,000 for the website redesign.
Roberts said the logo that is being used now that reads, Mountains, Music, Mayberry and Mount Airy, North Carolina and features drawings of Pilot Mountain, autumn leaves and a fiddle, has been in use at least as long as she has been the tourism director for the past eight years. She said the logo being used now is hard to reproduce because of the many colors it contains. The board seemed to have a consensus that it would like to see a simpler design, much like the Very Surry logo being used by the Tourism Partnership of Surry County.
Board members also agreed they would like to play up more of the outdoor activities, such as the activities in and surrounding the Ararat River and the city’s two greenways. Roberts also pointed out that this region has made its name in the wine industry, therefore, the Mayberry to Merlot slogan being used now, also may need to be tweaked.
The board agreed that even though the price for the logo and the website seemed high, it’s best to use the same firm for both rather than to use local art students to redesign the logo as suggested by board member Shirley Brinkley.
Roberts asked the board to give her suggestions on the website. She asked the board to name which three adjectives describe how it wants the redesigned site to look. “Inviting, friendly and fun,” were all mentioned. On the question of the style of the website, board members suggested, “clean, modern and polished.”
In other business, Roberts gave the board an update on Mount Airy’s most recent tourism statistics.
“The staff of the Mount Airy Visitors Center greeted and tracked 7,002 visitors in the month of August and that was up 12.18 percent from August 2011. Also in the month of July, the staff greeted 7,970 visitors, which was up 9.65 percent from July 2011,” said Roberts.
She said so far this year, the visitors center staff has greeted 38,383 visitors. The top 10 states represented in July and August were, in order of ranking, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. She said the staff also greeted international visitors from Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Puerto Rico, France, Nova Scotia, Scotland, Austria, Australia, the Netherlands, Malaysia, South East Asia, Mexico, Belgium and Barbados.
“We have been busy in the Mount Airy Visitors Center assisting with several different groups including Tour de Gaps cycling event, the Horseless Carriage car group, the Big Lots regional meeting, the Run to the Ridge event, upcoming weddings, family reunions and class reunions, and assisting with setting up lodging and arranging places for these groups to meet,” said Roberts.
She said the occupancy tax figures for May reflect a positive increase of 17.56 percent from the previous May. In June, that figure was up 27.95 percent from the prior year, bringing the year-to-date final numbers from fiscal year 2011-12 end to an increased growth of 8.65 percent.
She said the North Carolina Granite quarry was featured in the September edition of “Our State” magazine. Mount Airy also was featured in the July issue of the magazine and Old North State Winery will be featured in the October edition.
“We hosted Elizabeth Hudson, the editor of ‘Our State’ magazine, back in the spring and will continue to pitch story ideas to her in the future. I also saw her yesterday at the Media Mission in Raleigh with over 50-plus media representatives from all over North Carolina,” said Roberts.
The board will meet again on Nov. 2 at 10 a.m., downstairs in City Hall.
Reach Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.