Alexandria's Tourism Industry Focuses on the Future September 27, 2007
Media Release                                                                                                              Contact:
Emily Hellewell
ACVA Builds on Past Success, Migrates Marketing Strategy to 21st Century Environment


Alexandria, VA (September 27, 2007) - In her first public address before Alexandria's tourism industry, the ACVA's new CEO Stephanie Brown emphasized the association's number one marketing priority to build on the success of the ACVA's first 10 years, while migrating the association's marketing strategy to a 21st century environment.

Brown spoke to a large crowd attending the ACVA's 2007 Annual Membership Meeting and Luncheon at the Embassy Suites Alexandria. Keynoting the luncheon, Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research at the Travel Industry Association, focused her remarks on "Trends Shaping America's Travel Industry." Dr. Cook is the newest member of the ACVA Board of Governors.

"Migrating our strategy into a 21st century environment will require new, more aggressive media planning with a destination approach, built with partners who are expert in the tools we will need to succeed," Brown said. "Our website must be an engaging tool for selling and planning visits to Alexandria. It will orient potential visitors to all of Alexandria."

"History is the foundation of our brand," Brown said. "Equally important to our brand is a vibrant collection of hotels, restaurants and shops that create an entertaining and fun experience for our visitors and support the economic return on investment for the City that benefits our citizens." She noted Alexandria's hotel industry's investment of over $180 million, with new luxury hotels opening and others being upgraded, as well as new restaurants and retail businesses opening and National Harbor on the horizon.

Brown cited the brand image study commissioned by the ACVA and now underway. The study will use the survey results of 1,400 past and potential visitors to help shape Alexandria's tourism marketing message. "We will emphasize the brand attributes that motivate travel and distinguish Alexandria from our competition," she said. Also important to the ACVA's marketing strategy is a report by Dr. Stephen Fuller, Director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. Entitled, "The Visitor Market in Alexandria: Present and Prospective," the study was commissioned by the ACVA as a prelude to the development of a new five-year strategic plan which the ACVA Board of Governors will undertake in 2008.

"Dr. Fuller's report emphasizes the interdependence of tourism and other key economic sectors with business development and job growth in the City as a whole," Brown continued. "The work that we accomplish together in the upcoming years will be defined by collaboration - with the City of Alexandria, key business organizations, and our residents."

Alexandria's tourism industry is a major contributor to the economic health of the City of Alexandria. In FY 2007, tourism spending by overnight visitors was $587 million, generating nearly $14 million in direct taxes to the City.