100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Memphis and Bloomington Honored For Arts and Tourism Partnership

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

For the third year in a row, Destination Marketing Association and the Americans for the Arts recognized destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and their local arts organizations for working together to effectively and innovatively use the arts to market the community as a travel destination.

Recognizing leadership of destinations who successfully integrate the arts into their marketing strategy, the 2013 Arts Destination Marketing Award was presented at the American for The National Arts Marketing Conference in Portland, Oregon. This year’s recipients were the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and ArtsMemphis, along with Visit Bloomington and Bloomington Entertainment & Arts District (BEAD).

The Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and ArtsMemphis were recognized for their partnership in the creation of the Memphis Hop, the first ever Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour of Memphis attractions. Memphis has a wide variety of activities to entice its visitors, but the sheer number of attractions and the distance between them makes it difficult for visitors to enjoy all that Memphis has to offer.  Thanks to the Memphis Hop, local art attractions like the STAX Museum of American Soul and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art are now connected to international attractions like Graceland and Beale Street. 

“The Memphis Hop is a result of the collaboration and can-do-attitude of the city’s arts and tourism community,” said Kevin Kane, president and CEO of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Thanks to the new service, it's easier for visitors to experience many of the attractions that make Memphis one of the most unique and authentic cities in the world.”

Visit Bloomington teamed with Bloomington Entertainment & Arts District to use the arts as a key initiative in their destination strategic plan and core function of promotional activities. In addition to joint marketing campaigns between the two organizations, Visit Bloomington established a tourism event marketing grant program that provides marketing funds to local events.  The program has provided $150,000 in grant funds to local event organizers, including artist gallery exhibits, music festivals and theater performance in the Arts District.  Since the establishment of this program, overall tourism industry revenues have increased by more than 12%.

“We are lucky to have so many great artists and organizations to partner with not only in Bloomington, but all of Monroe County, said Visit Bloomington Executive Director, Mike McAfee. “Interest from people searching for art information on our website has increased by 213% in the last five years and 57% of our visitors attend a theater performance, visit a museum or enjoy live music while they are here,” added McAfee.