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We are Christina and Peter Pilarski, founders and leaders of CIPR Communications.

In the first five series of our podcast, Two Babies and a Business, we discussed various topics relating to marketing and public relations. For the latest series, we decided to focus on a very specific area of our work. Almost since the beginning, CIPR Communication has worked on a variety of Value of Tourism campaigns. It is a subject that is quite close to our hearts, and a niche with a particular set of challenges and requirements.

What is Value of Tourism?

Value of Tourism campaigns are public relations and marketing projects aimed at developing social licensing around matters relating to the tourism industry. Their aim is to advocate for the value that tourism can bring to a community, a city, a province, a region or the country as a whole. We want to make the target public in question – be it the local community of elected officials – understand why funding should be allocated to tourism-related activities in their area. These campaigns might focus on something specific, like raising funds for a new cultural building, or they could be more general, such as drives to educate locals on the tourist attractions in their own hometowns and make them better ambassadors for the local tourism industry.

Get a thorough overview of Value of Tourism communications by listening to this introductory podcast episode.

Make No Assumptions

When starting a Value of Tourism campaign, it is all too easy to go into it with a host of assumptions that may or may not reflect the reality of the situation. You may have heard the opinions of a certain vociferous portion of the community and assume that this represents the views held by everyone – but this may not be the case. You could begin the campaign based on your own thoughts and biases, and this could lead the project down entirely the wrong path. Before you get started, it is very important to shed your assumptions and make sure you are working with the facts.

Find out how to eliminate your assumptions and discover the truth about your Value of Tourism campaign in this podcast episode.

Polling with Monica from Tourism Kamloops

One of the best ways to get rid of your assumptions and drill down to the truth about tourism in your town or region is to conduct polls and surveys. In this episode, we speak to Monica Dickinson, Director of Industry Relations and Communications at Tourism Kamloops, to find out how she and her team make good use of polls to drive their campaigns, using hard data to help them determine their direction.

Listen to this interview to find out more about the importance of polling and surveys in Value of Tourism campaigns.

What’s Your Why?

Before you get started on your campaign, it is always to take a step back and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Many organizations, in tourism and other sectors, often set out on projects without a full understanding of their reasons for doing so. A PR consultant will spend time working with a destination management organization (DMO) to help gain clarity on the fundamental reasons to move forward with the campaign. There is no formula for what makes a good ‘why.’ It could be as simple as gaining general recognition for the Value of Tourism, or as complex as identifying and targeting viable sources of funding. The exact ‘why’ will be unearthed during these early discussions and will make it easier to hone and refine your strategies going forward.

Listen to the podcast to find out how to establish your ‘why.’


The Importance of the Value of Tourism with Andrea from Destination Castlegar

Andrea Ryman, Destination Marketing Director for Castlegar, British Columbia, and a member of the board of Kootenay Rockies Tourism, joins us in this episode to talk about the importance of educating the local business selector about the Value of Tourism. One of the most important aims of Destination Castlegar is to support local businesses and encourage them to showcase themselves, really to come forward with the best they have to offer, not only to get repeat visits from locals, but also to draw visitors into the area as well. Making local businesses aware of their role in this regard and securing their buy-in is central to growing tourism.

Listen to this interview to learn more about securing local businesses’ buy-in to tourism.

Getting Political

Both of us began our careers in the arena of politics, and our work in Value of Tourism is closely related to our political work. Much of the time, the kinds of communications we do in Value of Tourism consist of political messages – convincing elected officials of the importance of the industry, or trying to get voters to support a particular initiative. The first question we ask any destination management organization (DMO) starting a Value of Tourism campaign is the same as we would ask somebody who is setting out to run for political office: “Who are your supporters?” We usually follow that up by saying that if you can’t put together a list of at least 100 people who will come out and support you, then you should probably abandon the campaign.

Find out more about the political aspects of Value of Tourism campaigns in this podcast episode.

Being Realistic

Value of Tourism campaigns are usually driven by people who are very passionate about what they do. That passion can often cause us to detach from the realities of a situation or lose touch with public opinions on whatever topic we are addressing. It is essential to take a more objective view of the matter, get real and base your decisions on the facts. Big ideas and high ideals need to be translated into achievable goals. The overall “why” needs to be broken down into smaller “why’s” that can serve as measurable milestones. The overarching strategy must be divided into specific tactics in line with the available budget and other resources.

Listen to Episode 7 in the sixth series of our podcast to get some expert tips on how to get real about your campaign.

The Value of Tourism with Beverley from Tourism Kamloops

As part of our podcast series on the Value of Tourism, we were very fortunate to welcome Beverley DeSantis, CEO of Tourism Kamloops, as a special guest. We spoke to her about her experiences in the sector since she first took up her post. She explained that she came into a community surrounded by incredible tourism attractions, of which it was largely unaware. People in Kamloops tended to focus on their world-class sporting facilities and ignore the region’s rich tourism possibilities. She and her team made a concerted effort to educate the locals about the primary and secondary benefits of tourism.

Listen to Beverley’s insights in this episode of our podcast.


Your Support for Tourism strategy

Having laid the foundations for your Support for Tourism (another term frequently used for Value of Tourism) campaign, it is time to draw up your implementation strategy. There are two components in a tourism communications campaign: education and engagement. On the one hand, you are aiming to educate your public about your tourism message. On the other, you want to empower yourself and your audience to take active steps, based on the message and information you have conveyed in the educational component of the strategy.

In this episode, we explain how to plan and implement both of these aspects of your Value of Tourism campaign.

Educating Stakeholders – the Tactics

The first step in any Value of Tourism campaign is to educate your stakeholders about your message. Before they can be empowered to carry the campaign forward towards the desired outcomes, they need to understand the value of what they are being asked to do. There are several tactics you can use in your education phase, from polling to one-on-one conversations.

Discover the various tactics and their uses in this episode of our podcast.

Empowering Stakeholders – the Tactics

Once the education stage has been successfully completed, the next step is to empower your stakeholders to move forward with the message you have shared with them during that initial phase. The first step in empowering people to do anything is making sure that they understand the message you have been working to educate them about, so the first thing you need to ask when you go back to your stakeholders, is “Do you get it?” If the answer is no, you need to keep working on your education campaign.

Find out how to empower your stakeholders (once they “get it”) in this episode of our sixth series of Two Babies and a Business.

What is the Value of Tourism Toolkit?

To help our clients plan and execute their Value of Tourism campaigns – particularly if they are under-resourced – we have developed a value of Tourism toolkit, which includes digital assets that can aid them every step of the way. The toolkit includes templates for specific key documents and functions that you will need throughout the campaign, whether you are planning, educating, engaging or empowering. There are assets to help you strategize your campaign, from setting goals to collecting data. There are templates to assist you in creating tools for empowerment – things like letters to government officials, press releases and other tools.

Discover more about the Value of Tourism toolkit in this episode of our podcast.

Exploring Tourism

In the final episode of our series of podcasts on the Value of Tourism, we present an example of the real-world implementation of the Value of Tourism toolkit that we offer to our clients. Amber Harding, Marketing and Communication Specialist at the Northern BC Tourism Association (NBCTA), explains how she and her team approached CIPR Communications to help boost their tourism industries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They put our toolkit to good use to carry out a four-phase campaign that has helped them breathe new life into the region’s tourism sector.

Find out more about our toolkit and the four stages of NBCTA’s campaign in the final episode of our podcast series on the Value of Tourism.

Listen to our entire podcast for more expert tips on public relations, marketing strategy and related topics, including the Value of Tourism and many others. Read our blog for more insights, or contact us for more information.

Value of Tourism


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