Posts tagged “image

The Super Easy

Posted on February 3, 2013

The pageantry of New Orleans is on display for all the world as the Super Bowl returns to the Big Easy for the tenth time–tying the city with Miami as the most frequent host–and the first time since Hurricane Katrina. This year, with the game coinciding with the official twelve-day Carnival celebration (hence the nickname “Super Gras”), the city has pulled out all the stops in its savvy marketing of the New Orleans brand. The big show may be about the Ravens, the 49ers, and Beyonce’s halftime extravaganza, but tourism promoters have assured that the city will shine through it all and leave lasting impressions. To an even greater degree than on the eve of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition, Super Bowl XLVII preparations…

I (Heart) Moscow?

Posted on July 17, 2012

Moscow city officials are searching for their own version of Milton Glaser’s “I Love New York” campaign. Through an open competition they hope to encourage the creation of an “original and organic logo to project Moscow as a global tourism center.” New York’s famous campaign, as Art Blake describes in his essay on New York City in American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition, is credited with rebranding New York City as a tourist-friendly destination after decades of urban decline. It is understandable that Moscow, with its many connections to New York in terms of immigration and cultural outlook, would seek to imitate New York’s success. The right combination of design talent, urban management, and timing must, however, come together for places to truly reposition their global…

5th Ave. to Worth Ave. to 5th Ave. South

Posted on May 13, 2012

This 1946 scene of Palm Beach, Florida, shows the resort town’s main retail street, Worth Avenue. Sometimes called the “Fifth Avenue of the South,” the street became home to many upscale retailers. Worth Avenue in turn offered a fitting model for a later Mediterranean-themed makeover of Naples, Florida’s Fifth Avenue South, where a similarly affluent northern tourist clientele wintered.

Citifying Atlantic City and Las Vegas

Posted on May 12, 2012

In 1976 Atlantic City, New Jersey, took a fateful step in an effort to be more like Las Vegas. It legalized casino gambling in hopes that casinos would breathe new life into a city that had lost much of its appeal as a resort across the 20th century. By the 1990s, in contrast, the ever successful southern Nevada gambling mecca seemed to have wrung all it could from gaming. Its promoters recast it as a family entertainment destination to try to counter expected impacts from so many new gambling venues in other states. A decade later, Las Vegas reasserted its image as an adult playground with the now famous line “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.” Now the United States’ two most famous…

Skyscrapers: Selling Themselves, Selling the City

Posted on May 8, 2012

In recent weeks and months, American skyscrapers have been much in the news. For the time being, the United States does not appear poised to retake the title for tallest skyscraper (a distinction that has belonged to cities in Malaysia, Taiwan, and United Arab Emirates for more than a decade). With superlative height no longer the most viable way to generate excitement and visibility, we are seeing aesthetics move squarely into the arena of skyscraper competition. Just over a week ago, 1 World Trade Center topped the Empire State Building on its way to a symbolic 1,776-foot height (when the antenna is included), returning the distinction of tallest New York skyscraper downtown after an eleven-year absence. Not to be outdone, the Empire State Building’s owners, according…

New Orleans: The Paris of America

Posted on May 7, 2012

This early 1900s postcard, sketched by Z. A. Hendrick and published by the St. Charles Hotel, depicts a hypothetical tourist itinerary in New Orleans, “The Paris of America.” With three of thirteen pictures devoted to mild winter weather, the card reveals how actively New Orleans promoters courted northern winter tourists in the early 20th century. Of course, the thermometer’s 75° Fahrenheit reading is a bit optimistic even for New Orleans on a typical winter day. The card offers clues about how tourists reached and encountered American cities in the early years of the past century. Arriving by passenger train, tourists could opt for a “sight-seeing trip” on board a motorized touring car in a time before automobiles reached wide use. It also suggests much…

Little Aspen of the Blue Ridge

Posted on May 3, 2012

As leaders in tony Highlands, North Carolina, look around the southern Appalachians, they find examples aplenty of tourist destinations that have struggled to define an image to match their beautiful surroundings. As the Smoky Mountain News reported yesterday, several towns in western North Carolina have labored to find slogans to brand themselves to appeal to a wide range of potential visitors without becoming so imprecise as to lose a coherent message. Some have had to rebrand themselves as their offerings have evolved. In Cherokee on the eastern fringe of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, casino gambling as eclipsed even the town’s cultivated reputation as a place to encounter Native Americans. Highlands’ slogan “Above It All” refers to its especially lofty elevation of 4,118 feet…

An Annual Contribution of Adoring Camera Work for Hilton Head

Posted on April 16, 2012

This weekend the PGA Tour made its annual post-Masters stop on Hilton Head Island for the RBC Heritage Tournament. Nothing has done more to market the resort island than the Heritage, which began Thanksgiving weekend 1969 with a fortuitous win by Arnold Palmer. At that time Hilton Head had barely begun its career as a resort after a first career as sea island cotton plantations and a hundred years as a residential island for former slaves and their descendants. The 2012 coverage of the RBC Heritage on the Golf Channel and CBS Sports offers up a full-color advertisement of what Hilton Head has to offer. During voiceovers going into and out of commercials, the producers deliver corporate blimp aerial shots of Calibogue Sound and…

Beyond Cherry-picked Attractions?

Posted on April 16, 2012

Pick up any airline magazine tucked into the seat back on your next flight, and you are likely to see at least one article that promises an itinerary that will take you off the beaten path. For as long as the tourist trade has existed, promoters have suggested paths that visitors should take through cities. As historian Catherine Cocks wrote in Doing the Town (Berkeley, 2001), they highlighted the brightest stars within the constellation of places in the city, but the result was that the “dark” spaces in between surely saw little of the benefits tourism might bring. Tourists hopped aboard a streetcar or hired a seeing-the-city car to whisk them from one bright spot to another. Thus their experience became as standardized as the pictures…

Revel Beach

Posted on April 6, 2012

Atlantic City is working hard to assure that its very name glitters, but a recent event shows how hard it can be to shape a city’s image. As reported in today’s Press of Atlantic City, the city council in the New Jersey tourist town recently discovered it had unwittingly approved rechristening part of the most famous stretch of sand on the Jersey Shore as “Revel Beach.” Revel, a new mega-resort, plans to open over Memorial Day weekend as a centerpiece in the much-awaited reinvention of a struggling seaside city. Don’t look for Parker Brothers to rename its iconic Atlantic City–based Monopoly place names anytime soon. The move has led to vows by the city never to allow another section of the municipal beachfront to be renamed…

Reinventing Atlantic City–Again

Posted on March 27, 2012

Atlantic City, as historian and American Tourism contributor Bryant Simon has argued in Boardwalk of Dreams, built its reputation with iconic, lavish hotels and the promise that tourists could reinforce their middle-class identity by taking a rolling-chair ride on the famed Boardwalk. But Atlantic City, like other American cities that enjoyed their heyday in the first half of the 20th century, began to unravel as locals left densely packed front-porch neighborhoods for suburbia and tourists traded the World’s Playground for more exclusive emerging resorts. The arrival of legalized casino gambling in 1978 promised a resumption of Atlantic City’s glory days, but in recent years the newfound luster seemed to fade as nearby states introduced gaming alternatives and the gap between the casino district and…

Please Step Away From the River

Posted on March 22, 2012

San Antonio’s official tourism promotion slogan is “San Antonio, Deep in the Heart.” And, deep in the heart of San Antonio is the colorful River Walk, miles of walkways, terraces, and footbridges that hug the San Antonio River as it meanders through the city’s downtown area. Originally built with New Deal dollars in the 1930s and greatly expanded in the 1960s, the River Walk moved to the very center of San Antonio’s tourist image, rivaling even the Alamo. Then, almost three years ago, the City of San Antonio partnered with local, state, and federal agencies to double the River Walk’s length with the 1.3-mile Museum Reach, signaling an attempt to open up to visitors the city’s cultural attractions beyond downtown. Now the San Antonio…