As reported, the MCDC has relaunched the “Best of the Red Rock Area” contest this year. Eysink said the results of this contest will help determine what the 101 gems should be. One of Brooks’ messages was to celebrate, accentuate and promote the region’s most popular assets and attractions. The contest is expected to show what restaurants, businesses, attractions, events, etc., are held in the highest regard already. Recommendations will also be used to determine what to focus on in the 2014 travel guide, which MCDC is already working on. Voting in the contest is available at www.redrockarea.com, and will be open until Nov. 1. Winners will be announced in January.
The bigger projects Brooks suggested, such as way-finding signage improvements around the county, will take longer to complete. Focusing the county’s marketing efforts on websites is a priority that could be achieved sooner.
“We know the Web is where we’re getting a ton (of visitors),” Eysink said.
Each tourism entity in the county, whether it be the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, Pella Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lake Red Rock, etc., is tasked with trying to find an identity to capitalize upon to attract visitors. MCDC is also working on an “umbrella” identity to encompass the entire county in the hopes of bringing more people to the area.
To help achieve this, focus will be on “anchor tenants” in the county, those true destinations Marion County has to offer. Eysink knows of at least two; the Knoxville Raceway and the Historical Village in Pella. Contest results should point out the others.
“There’s lots of others,” Eysink said.
The people who will work to ensure the implementation and follow-through of these new attempts are expected to include stakeholders in each community. Volunteers will be accepted. Eysink remains impressed with Brooks’ presentation, the suggestions he made and the plan that is coming from it.