Letters to the Editor, Week of Aug. 29, 2013

Posted on Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 11:33 am

Study of camp’s economic impact is currently underway

In response to the Aug. 22 commentary, “Economic impact of Redskins Training Camp was overblown,” an economic impact study of the Washington Redskins Training Camp is underway. Until the results are analyzed it is not possible for anyone to know how the impact compares to expectations.
What we know for certain is that Richmond Region Tourism began promoting the Richmond Region as a destination to Redskins fans for nearly three months leading up to opening day. As a result, our official online visitor information landing page, RedskinsinRichmond.com, was visited by more than 30,000 people beginning in May. During the three weeks of training camp, it was the most visited page on our website.
The page was designed to connect travelers with the Richmond Region’s attractions, restaurants and hotels. More than 100 deals were submitted by area businesses.  Of those, 30 hotel packages were available, and two were provided by Hanover hotels (the Holiday Inn Mechanicsville and the Hampton Inn Mechanicsville). Richmond Region Tourism staff began outreach to hotels requesting packages as early as February.  (The website no longer features all the packages that were available as many expired after camp ended.)
Of the 20 entertainment discounts offered on the fan page, two were offered by attractions in Hanover: Kings Dominion and Scotchtown. Kings Dominion’s deal – $10 off regular admission – was listed at the top, just below a header image featuring Kings Dominion. In the restaurant and craft beer categories, 22 deals were available to fans, and no businesses in Hanover participated.
Richmond Region Tourism promoted the page through online advertising, email, social media and media relations. We traveled to Washington, D.C., for live, on-air news interviews with both NBC and ABC to promote visitation to the Region during Training Camp. During our Training Camp Facebook contest that ran in June, advertising reached more than 160,000 people on Facebook alone.
At Training Camp attendees had access to information about all of the Richmond Region every day that camp was open. Richmond Region Tourism’s Mobile Visitor Center – literally a visitor center on wheels – brought thousands of maps, brochures and knowledgeable travel counselors directly to visitors.
As I have mentioned to other media outlets that contacted us about this topic, the tourism impact of Training Camp goes beyond the direct spending from July 25 to Aug. 16; it is about generating repeat visitors, tying the Richmond Region to one of the biggest brands in the NFL, and the priceless media coverage of the Region that came with hosting the camp. We know that Redskins fans will be back to explore the entire region, and we sincerely hope you inform your readers.

Jack Berry

Richmond Region Tourism, president and CEO

Volunteer help much appreciated

Hanover Adult Center would like to recognize Anchor Baptist Church for their hard work and dedication to our agency. They chose our center to be a part of the church’s annual outreach mission.
The congregation volunteered for three days and power-washed walkways, stained fences, and painted our patio area. They also visited our participants and led devotions, played Bingo, presented skits, and sang for us.
We thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship and would like to sincerely thank the church for all their time and effort.

Diane Dillard,
Mechanicsville

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