6 Ways to Celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week

May 17, 2024
National Travel and Tourism Week

It’s time yet again to prepare celebrations during National Travel & Tourism Week, when the United States highlights the power of this industry we all hold so dear.

From May 19-24, 2024, get introspective and look at the impact of the tourism industry on our local communities through destination advocacy. By creating jobs, updating infrastructure, and advocating for better quality of life overall, National Travel & Tourism Week gives us a reason to let our communities know what we’re doing for them.

So rather than simply promote travel packages and deals, take a moment to showcase the positive contributions your destination has made. Do some PR for your PR efforts! Go and brag a little bit because communities need to see the good that tourism ultimately does for local residents. 

And as you underscore what you do for them, consider planning something a little special to drive home your commitment to elevating your community. With any of these six ideas, you’ll even have a little fun in the process.

1. Share Local Partner Testimonies

Whether it’s a TV spot or a series of social media posts, a few short YouTube clips or a conference for local business leaders, share your successes through your locals. Find the individuals who may otherwise not have a platform and let them speak from the heart.

Give them the stage to say why the destination marketing organization (DMO) has helped them succeed or thrive in these challenging times. It will not only be more natural to have community members speaking to community members, but it will genuinely showcase your DMOs destination advocacy over the past year.

2. Create a Social Campaign to Share Successes

In addition to sharing stories, start a social media campaign to have locals share how tourism has benefited them in some way. A hashtag like #ThanksDestinationName can be an engaging way to highlight these stories but it’s also another way to learn how you are impacting people on the ground. 

It might seem self-serving, but this week is about celebrating what your DMO does, so don’t be shy.

3. Push for Local Media Coverage

People in the next state or country over don’t really need to know how you are uplifting your community. So instead of sending out pitches to the big national travel media, take a moment to go more local. Reach out to local news sites and broadcast stations – and even local digital  influencers – to help channel the impact of tourism on your destination. 

Propose ideas to them for coverage, whether it’s an inside look at an attraction or an interview with one of your DMO staff. We often get so caught up in promoting our efforts to travelers that we forget that locals may be interested in how their home is being marketed.

4. Create a Locals-Only Deal

While National Travel & Tourism Week celebrates all you’ve done for your local residents, it doesn’t mean you can’t do more. Develop a locals-only deal, whether it’s a discount for a staycation in a hotel or a sale on entry to a museum or attraction. Give them reasons to participate in all you do.

This will have the added benefit of drumming up some extra business for partners who have not fully recovered since the onset of the pandemic, but framing it as a celebration rather than a necessity will be a breath of fresh air.

5. Hold an Event or Contest for the Community

Engagement with community members is never a bad idea, and holding a contest or giveaway for them will help remind them that you’re on their side. Raffle off a basket of goods from local artisans or create a social media contest to share the best photo from your destination in order to win a dinner at a local restaurant.

It doesn’t have to be a massive gesture, but any sort of outreach to locals to remind them of the benefits of your destination advocacy on their livelihood will be a wise step towards keeping them behind your efforts.

6. Partner With Local Businesses

Go big and commission a local business to be part of the action. Is there a favorite donut shop that your DMO can work with to provide free pastries to the local college campus or office complex? Is there a coffee roaster you can hire to provide espressos to morning commuters at the local train station? Perhaps the local florist can provide tiny bouquets to brighten people’s day at the local hospital. 

Whatever it may be, channeling some of your funds into this sort of endeavor gets your DMO’s name out there while also supporting a local business who, if they weren’t already, will likely become a partner for the future. Use National Travel & Tourism Week as a chance to celebrate all the good things that have happened, and to get communities excited about what’s to come!

Looking for more creative ways to celebrate success of your destination advocacy this National Travel & Tourism Week and beyond? DCI has more than 60 years of experience creating campaigns from scratch. Get in touch with Karyl Leigh Barnes at [email protected] to learn more about how we can elevate your brand and its successes among local communities.

Written by

Karyl Leigh Barnes

President, Tourism Practice