mtairynews.com

Ohio taking interest in Mayberry

Greg Bolen gbolen@civitasmedia.com

August 20, 2014

Welcome to Surry County, Buckeyes.


Yes, that’s right…Ohio. This state had the most visitors to the area (behind North Carolina of course), and Virginia, according to Jessica Roberts, director of tourism and marketing for the greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center.


According to tracking from the Mount Airy Visitor’s Center, 6,874 visitors were greeted in the month of June, and 7,883 visitors in July stopped by the center. Of that total the state ranking third on that list might be a little surprising to some residents.


The Tourism Partnership of Surry County decided a couple of months ago to take the initiative and appeal to an area other than a surrounding county or state. With ad campaigns already a success in markets like Charlotte and Virginia, the partnership decided to promote a little farther up north. So in a specifically targeted campaign, the group released two commercial spots and advertisements in newspapers highlighting some of the area’s best features and attractions into the Ohio market.


What followed was a trickle-down effect of visitors and interests from other media outlets. The television show “New Day Cleveland,” a FOX 8 affiliate out of Cleveland, came to town approximately two weeks ago and conducted a feature segment with Mayor Deborah Cochran.


The show’s host, David Moss, visited some of the city’s businesses. Moss,visited the Andy Griffith Museum, Snappy Lunch, Miss Angel’s Bakery, and to top the evening off he took a squad car tour of the city. Stops also included Shelton’s Vineyards, Rockford’s General Store, and several other Surry County attractions.


The visitor’s center received a firsthand account of the campaign’s success from patrons coming in.


“When asked how they heard about this area, a majority of the visitors replied that they had seen the commercials or watched the show.” said Robert’s. According to Roberts since the campaign’s kickoff, not only has the visitors at the center increased, but the number of hits to the two websites has as well. Mayor Cochran said that she was pleased to have any additional eyes on the city, and that exposure means support and revenue for the city.


Roberts said that the tourism partnership is already looking into future advertising sweepstakes that will appear on the website Visitnc.com, and are hoping for a strong response.