Posts tagged “marketing

Rebranding the “Land of Enchantment”

Posted on April 29, 2012

As reported by the Associated Press earlier this month, the state of New Mexico is rebranding itself to overcome a common perception of the state as boring. Thus, the “Land of Enchantment” will give way to “New Mexico True.” The move is hardly surprising when one looks back over the past century of statehood. For its entire history as a state, New Mexico promoters have walked a tightrope between accentuating the state’s exotic difference and claiming its place in the United States. Before statehood, the Santa Fe Railway’s tourism promotion arm, the Fred Harvey Company, created a powerful image of a foreign land filled with exotic peoples and stunning scenery. It packaged this experience through its Indian Department and its placement of Native American…

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…

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…