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Tourism Strategic Plan Officially Adopted by: Floyd County Board of Supervisors ##-##-#### Town of Floyd

Tourism Strategic Plan

Tourism Strategic Plan Officially Adopted by: Floyd County Board of Supervisors ##-##-#### Town of Floyd –

Officially Adopted by:

Floyd County Board of Supervisors ##-##-#### Town of Floyd – Town Council ##-##-####

Contents

Background

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Background – Development of this Plan

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Background – Acknowledgments Background – Past Tourism Efforts Situational Analysis

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Situational

Analysis - SWOT

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Tourism Mission, Vision & Goal Mission Statement Vision Statement Visioning/Planning Participant Quote Excerpts:

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Tourism Goals, Objectives, Measures, Targets, & Initiatives/Tasks Conclusion Appendix Quick Reference Target & Measure List Terms & Definitions

xvii xxii Error! Bookmark not defined. Error! Bookmark not defined. xxiii

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Background

Background – Development of this Plan

While Floyd County has seen significant tourism growth and development in recent years, the growth and development has occurred without a concerted strategic plan with input and endorsement by both the private and public sector. Additionally, questions and concerns regarding potential fragmented and conflicting marketing efforts, over development, loss of indigenous cultural qualities, and recently implemented transient occupancy tax (with a portion dedicated to tourism) have arisen. With all those factors considered, a steering committee with representatives of both the public and private sectors (volunteers) was established to guide a tourism strategic planning process for Floyd County. The assistance of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Partnership Alliance Marketing – Development Division was secured to guide the planning process, facilitate the strategic planning sessions, and develop this first tourism plan for Floyd County.

Strategic planning sessions were held on February 18, 2010, March 25, 2010, and May 5, 2010, at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts. Additionally, a cultural heritage asset determination meeting was conducted by the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission on February 11, 2010, and a tourism branding input session was conducted by Tripp Muldrow of Muldrow and Associates on April 23, 2010. An overall review meeting was conducted on June 16 th again at the Jacksonville Center to review the draft of this plan and to discuss final edits. The content of this document is a result of the discussion during those planning and input sessions, as well as information collected during previous studies which are cited within this document.

Background – Acknowledgments

The following individuals participated in the planning and input sessions. Gratitude is expressed to each individual that has and continues to dedicate time, expertise, and resources toward the development and promotion of tourism as a sustainable economic development priority for Floyd County:

Ivan Anderson

Beth Almond Ford

Dede McGrath

Jayn Avery

Evelyn Forquer

Andy Moreno

Joanne Bell

Frank Forquer

Chris Moreno

William Bell

Candace Frey

Shep Nance

Karen Bingham

Joy Gardner

Becky Pomponio

Traci Blummer

John Getgood

Sally Sagebiel

Rick Brown

Myra Grim

Mike Smith

Judy Bryant

Dick Giessler

William Sutton

Kamala Bauers

Amy Avery Grubel

Cheryl Thompson

Dan Campbell

Katie Holfield

Karen (Korene)Thompson

John Day

Nora Kuper

Jon Vest

Ed Cohn

David Larsen

Derek Wall

Mark Cox

Bonnie Lawrence

Jack Wall

Woody Crenshaw

Jesse Lawrence

David Zachow

Fred First

Lydeana Martin

Diane Flynt

John McEnhill

Randall Rose, Partnership Marketing Development Specialist with the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), facilitated the strategic planning process and drafted this document with the assistance and input of the previously listed stakeholders.

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Background – Past Tourism Efforts

Floyd County has never had a cohesive, commonly endorsed tourism plan, but it has had many collaborative tourism endeavors over recent years. Many people and organizations have taken various leadership and stewardship roles including the Chamber of Commerce, the Jacksonville Center for the Arts, Blue Ridge Heritage, Inc., and Round the Mountain. Private businesses have also served leadership capacities, including the gathering of support for certain collaborative ads and promotions and publishing newsletters, websites and a magazine about Floyd.

The Floyd County Chamber of Commerce has long played an important role in supporting local businesses, including through a tourism committee and the publication of a beautiful brochure. Further, the Chamber is an important interface-point: providing business networking opportunities and walk-in, website and phone assistance to visitors.

The Town of Floyd government has played an active role in revitalizing the downtown. Town dollars and staff time along with major investment from the private sector, state and federal dollars have resulted in a magnificent, restoration and enhancement of downtown that includes more shops, public restrooms, additional parking, a hotel and a community market. The Town continues to work on the Heritage Pathways project which will provide important interconnections in Town. Additionally, the Town is developing a downtown Park with close support from the

Partnership for Floyd.

The Town of Floyd provides funding to many local non-profits, including

through the Virginia Commission for the Arts

get list from Korene.

 

Floyd County government has also played an active role in tourism promotion and development. The County serves as the destination marketing organization (DMO)—the primary contact for the Virginia Tourism Corporation. County staff has hosted Virginia Tourism Corporation Visitor Center staff for tours of Floyd County and worked with VTC, The Crooked Road and others on numerous substantial media tours. Beyond group media tours, county staff serves as a liaison for reputable, individual journalists, suggesting itineraries, connecting them with complimentary services and tours. The County supplies a tailored media kit, including DVD of images and itineraries to visiting media. This public relations outreach would not be possible without the generous, complimentary hosting provided by local lodging facilities.

The County hosts tourism pages on its website (www.floydcova.org/visitors), including direct feed of local listings from the main state site, Virginia.org. As DMO, the County also moderate emails from VTC related to media opportunities and shares pertinent ones with email list of tourism- related entities in Floyd County and serves as a reviewer for tourism-related grant applications. Similarly, the County serves as a principle regional contact among other governmental agencies related to tourism, and promotes the many assets of Floyd County with all special guests.

In recent years, Floyd County government has given regular funding support to the following tourism-related activities: the Crooked Road, the Rocky Knob/Blue Ridge Heritage project, the Jacksonville Center for the Arts, the Chamber of Commerce, Floyd Merchants (parade and 4 th of July), and Round the Mountain. All of these organizations play a critical role in tourism development and promotion. Further the County has developed and paid for annual ads in the Virginia Travel Guide and Blue Ridge Parkway Directory. The County pays annually for a toll-free number used in marketing efforts (it is staff by the Jacksonville Center.) The County sends a brochure (Chamber brochure) to anyone who requests more information from those publications.

In addition to direct dollars paid, considerable staff time has been devoted to the planning and development of The Crooked Road, the Rocky Knob/Blue Ridge Heritage, Inc. project (more below), the Blue Ridge Plateau joint marketing efforts (these decreased substantially during 2008-09 due to medical leave of a staff member.). County staff support helped found and develop the Floyd County Harvest Festival/County Fair and lead the local committee in the statewide

Anniversary and Floyd County’s 175 th Anniversary. The

community program for the 400

th

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Chamber and County are also preparing to participate in the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75 th anniversary weekend. Further, County staff is coordinating the development of this Tourism Plan, as well as the closely-related Comprehensive Plan.

County staff works on business development of tourism-related business—providing local statistics, connections to business planning, promotional opportunities, and workshops on marketing and staff training. The County staffs the new 5 and 10 Small Business Loan Program to help all types of business in Floyd County. County staff has also worked to promote farming and local foods as the core part of the community and the essential setting for visitors.

The County implemented a transient occupancy tax on January 1, 2009. (The Town of Floyd has had a transient occupancy tax and meals tax for a few years, so the County does not collect a transient occupancy tax from Town businesses.). The County’s transient occupancy tax revenue during the first calendar year was $26,319.65. According to state code, at least 3 of the 5 cents collected per dollar of transient occupancy sales must go to the promotion of tourism. The County does not have a meals tax (note that currently a meals tax can only be passed in Floyd County by voter referendum.) Previously, all tourism-related funding (estimated to be at least $35,000 annually in recent years) had come from general funds; now some is taken from the transient occupancy tax collections.

The Rocky Knob/Blue Ridge Heritage, Inc. project was begun by Congressman Boucher who obtained federal funding to begin to develop a major tourism centerpiece along the Rocky Knob area of the Blue Ridge Parkway, where the Counties of Floyd and Patrick meet. A non-profit group, Blue Ridge Heritage, Inc. has been established. In 2008, it hired a team from Virginia Tech and Clemson to perform a “gap analysis” of the region to help identify what the focus or them of the new centerpiece should be (what is true to the area AND what would be well-attended by visitors.) The resulting 2009 study, “The Rocky Knob Sustainable Tourism Centerpiece Project Final Report,” developed through community input, one current visitor survey and one potential visitor survey as well as multi-faceted Geographic Information System and Global Position System technology, provides a strong foundation for tourism planning. The Plan and complete analysis are available online at http://www.cnr.vt.edu/gep/RockyKnobReport.html.

The missing piece in all of these years of work has been a written strategic plan that envisions the future of Floyd County tourism, identifies mutual goals, and establishes a collaborative road map to get there. This is essential because the economic impact of tourism on Floyd County continues to grow, as indicated in the chart below provided by the Virginia Tourism Corporation. This document seeks to chart a coordinated course forward.

the chart below provid ed by the Virginia Tourism Corporation. This document seeks to chart a

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Situational Analysis

As an important component of the planning process, planning participants conducted a Situational Analysis of tourism to help determine the goals and objectives of this plan. The process included the determination of current tourism assets, target customers, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, as well as an analysis of tourism infrastructure, tourism policy, and marketing strategies.

Situational Analysis – Premier Tourism Assets

Following is a list of the determined premier assets for Floyd County, which are the assets that are most likely to be featured in advertising and promotion. A complete inventory of all tourism assets has been completed in conjunction with the Rocky Knob Centerpiece Study and is included as Attachment A.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Downtown Floyd

Buffalo Mountain

The Music:

o

the Friday Night Jamboree inside The Floyd Country Store and outside,

o

many other music venues

o

County Sales;

o

Floydfest and other music festivals and special events

Chateau Morrisette Winery & Restaurant

Mabry Mill/ other historic Water Mills

Local Foods: food markets and restaurants

The Arts: 16 Hands, The Jacksonville Center for the Arts, and other studios

Rocky Knob/Rock Castle Gorge Trails

• The Arts: 16 Hands, The Jacksonville C enter for the Arts, and other studios •

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Situational Analysis - Target Customers/Tourists

Following is a list of general and specific tourist market segments determined as potential target markets for future advertising and marketing of Floyd County as a tourism destination. While these groups were determined as potential markets by reference of available tourism assets and by the input of stakeholders, in-depth research of each potential market should be done to determine the feasible segments of tourist markets to engage marketing and advertising:

By age:

o

Young Families

o

Elder Hostels

o

Retirees

o

Age 21 and over (legal age to visit wineries)

o

Baby Boomers

o

Millennials

By location:

o

North Carolina

o

Virginia

o

Washington, D.C.

o

Also New York, Florida and Ohio

Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts

o

Canoes/kayakers

o

Hikers

o

Birders

o

Photographers

o

Bicyclers

o

Golfers

By Groups:

o

Girlfriend Getaways

o

Regional Recreation Groups

o

Youth Hostel

o

Church Groups

By Travel Route/ Scenic Drives:

o

Motorcycle Riders

o

Blue Ridge Parkway Riders

o

Antique/Collector Car Clubs

o

Interstate 81 Travelers

By Niche/Interest

o

Arts

o

Education Sector (students, alumni, parents)

o

Visitors drawn by music

o

Organic seekers

o

Culinary Travelers (interested in restaurants, wineries, farmer’s market, etc.)

o

Holistic Health

o

Green or eco-travelers

o

Cultural Heritage/History

The Rocky Knob Study provides important insight on current and potential visitors. As part of that Study, a survey was conducted of current visitors. Of the 312 respondents, 77.5% were

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conducted at Mabry Mill (in Floyd County) and 21.5% were conducted in the town of Floyd. The following summarize that process and the survey results.

County) and 21.5% were conducted in the town of Floyd. The following summarize that process and
County) and 21.5% were conducted in the town of Floyd. The following summarize that process and

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Also as part of the Rocky Knob Study, a survey of potential visitors was conducted. The following summarize that process and the survey results.

Knob Study, a survey of potential visitors was conducted. The following summarize that process an d
Knob Study, a survey of potential visitors was conducted. The following summarize that process an d

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Situational Analysis - SWOT

The discussion and identification of SWOT - S (Strengths) W (Weaknesses) O (Opportunities) and T (Threats) was used as a key method in developing this tourism strategic plan for Floyd County. For the most part, Strengths and Weaknesses are internal factors, while Opportunities and Threats are external factors. Goals, Objectives, Targets, Measures, and Initiatives were all determined after careful consideration of the SWOT analysis.

The following SWOT analysis was compiled from the Rocky Knob Study and from a prior Floyd Tourism Meeting in February 2008. (The entire Rocky Knob Study is available separate from this plan.) Following these pages, the additional input from this year’s meeting will be presented.

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x

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Upon review of those lists, the following were added by this tourism planning group in 2010.

Strengths

Strong Assets and Attractions (i.e. Floyd Country Store, 16 Hands, County Sales, Schoolhouse Fabrics, Farmer’s Supply, Mabry Mill, Crooked Road, Round The Mountain, organic farms, golf courses, walking tour, etc.)

Visitor appeal – they love that they have “discovered” Floyd

Entrepreneurship/locally-owned businesses

Weaknesses

Duplication (in marketing)

Public participation

Operating schedules of businesses – some do not accommodate visitors

Public transportation

Poor signage

Needed parking for RV’s, motorcycles, and all forms of transportation

Tourism budget

Visitors Center

Snow/ice removal (e.g. Blue Ridge Parkway, plus very harsh winters such as 2009/2010 elsewhere)

Opportunities

Additional festivals (i.e. pumpkin festival with corn maze)

Emblem or representation of Floyd (brand?) ’s

Website collaboration

Virginia Tech’s Tourism Department (intern assistance)

Hospitality improvements

o

Podcasts, cell phone applications, GPS coordinates

o

Customer service training

Threats

Loss of Authenticity (Scale & Pace)

Parking

Water Quality/Quantity

Economy, Budget

Lack of industry - which might encourage heavy industrial development efforts

Subdivisions/lack of Zoning

Increased use/pressure on infrastructure

Interest in Floyd by “chain stores,” corporate invasion

Lack of signage

Weather limitations

Preserving land and farms

Lack of funding for the Blue Ridge Parkway maintenance

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Situational Analysis – Tourism Infrastructure

In the Town, there is a hotel and B&B, and scattered through the County there are diverse accommodations including 30-plus Bed and Breakfast, Inns, Cottages, and Cabins that offer a wide variety of amenities (estimated 200 rooms.) See Attachment A for a complete list of accommodations, restaurants, studios, and other tourism-related assets.

During the planning sessions, stakeholders discussed the current tourism infrastructure for Floyd and determined the following recommendations and observations:

Establish, promote, and direct visitors to an official visitor center. Consider an “after hours” information component

Additional parking in the Town of Floyd is needed. Consider the development of shuttle service during high flow periods and a designated motorcoach parking area

There is a need for restaurants and lodging that can accommodate large groups (20 plus), open 7 days a week

Consider locating a visitor information kiosk for Floyd near the Blue Ridge Parkway

Develop stronger visitor information at Mabry Mill and other Parkway/gateway locations

Consider having sites on the `Round the Mountain Artisan Trail’ organized into scheduled tour times, preferably on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons

Consider developing a uniform visitor directions signage plan.

Develop integrated online tourism website with central calendar online

Need more outdoor recreation spaces including trails closer to town, bike lanes or routes

Situational Analysis - Tourism Policy/Organization Structure

At present, there is no formal tourism policy for Floyd County or the Town of Floyd. The economic development director is the staff position for Floyd County that is primarily responsible for tourism efforts, along with help from another staff person. However, the director’s responsibilities also include other economic development and planning duties (the other staff person has additional responsibilities as well.) The economic development director reports to the county administrator, who reports to the Board of Supervisors.

The Town of Floyd does not have a designated tourism staff, so such tasks are handled by the town manager and other staff. The town manager reports to the town council.

The Floyd County of Chamber of Commerce is also actively involved in tourism. The Chamber is a non-profit organization guided by a volunteer board of directors. The Chamber’s executive director is responsible for tourism activities, as well as other responsibilities as guided by the Chamber’s mission. The executive director reports to the Chamber’s board of directors.

During the planning sessions, the following recommendations and observations were made regarding Floyd’s tourism policy and organization structure:

Evaluate Floyd County’s advertising policy for potential change. Specifically, the policy that will not allow for the promotion of a particular business within advertising

Evaluate all staff resources devoted to tourism and consider a full-time tourism director and advisory committee.

Consider appointing an alternate DMO representative/contact

Consider an apprentice hospitality program through a local university

Evaluate tourism zone/incentives opportunity

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Situational Analysis - Marketing & Promotion Strategies

While no formal marketing plan was being utilized during the development of this plan, Floyd County was being advertised and marketed through the following strategies:

Brochures and other print pieces produced by the Chamber, Round the Mountain and regional collaborations; as well as privately developed publications.

Several websites – with various owners, including the County, Town and Chamber.

Good photographers and writers, including bloggers, who are interested in the local flavors.

Advertising placement

o

Virginia Travel Guide (official fulfillment publication for the Virginia)

o

Blue Ridge Parkway Directory (only such publication allowed on Parkway properties)

o

Crooked Road Brochure

o

Occasional special placements in Blue Ridge Country and others regional publications.

o

NPR promotions

Public Relations

o

Outreach to media visitors including itineraries, media kit with electronic photos, etc.;

o

Guest speaking to college classes, symposiums, etc.

o

Posting of themes and itineraries on Virginia.org

o

Ambassador training for local hospitality workers

o

Also occasional booth presence at major events.

Events – most recently including Harvest Festival/County Fair, Town Jubilee, Split Rail Festival, Artisan and Farmers market

During the planning sessions, stakeholders reviewed current marketing efforts and determined the following recommendations and observations:

Develop and update a marketing plan consistently, evaluating all advertising and marketing opportunities to reach target markets, provide best return-on-investment, etc.

Learn more about the Cascade Highlands tourism marketing organization and evaluate their advertising and marketing opportunities

Consider reallocating and investing new resources to online marketing (including social media marketing)

Evaluate Virtual Blue Ridge online magazine as a potential marketing tool

Evaluate National Public Radio in North Carolina and Virginia as a potential marketing tool

Consider an official website for Floyd to help address the issue of the numerous websites that consumers see when searching for information about the region

Develop a press kit (County does those already, but difficult to get written or photo contributions.)

Determine marketing tactics and strategies to promote sites and attractions outside of the Town of Floyd

Develop a strong public relations component of the overall marketing plan

Recognize the opportunity to present different images/ads to different segments of markets

Develop a strategy to encourage businesses to extend their operating week/day during peak tourist periods

Utilize the citizens television channel to reach potential visitors and promote tourism

Utilize Citizens Bulletin Board Channel (local television/internet provider)

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Evaluate available URL’s to promote that could promote regional/Floyd destinations

Evaluate the possibility of an initiative to support the approval of tasteful directional signage on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Continue working with the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission to assist with and benefit from their efforts to develop and promote Heartwood and the Southwest Virginia visitor experience

Look at historically significant assets and contemplate new marketing and/or signage efforts.

Have a single map or way to identify hiking, walking, canoe, kayaking opportunities

Check in on AAA listing (are we there)

Planting Our Flag

By Fred First

An important issue before the tourism steering committee is: would Floyd town and county benefit from the use of a professionally-produced "signature identifier" package (aka branding) and how might it best present to the community the pros and cons of such a purchase for use on a voluntary basis by county agencies, organizations and businesses.

The matter is complicated by a number of factors, the first perhaps is one of language stimulus-response--the average person's gut reaction on hearing the term "branding." A literalist might imagine the sensation of having a mark of permanent ownership seared by red-hot poker into the metaphorical flesh of a branded town.

A less onerous but still potentially troubling connotation of "branding" is to have a "brand name" imposed upon the

community. In this there is the sense that the town and county have become a commodity to be sold; that its diversity can be reduced to a single symbol and packaged for consumption, that we've become a "commercial.". There might be the fear that such a graphic-and-text label would or could be pretentious, inauthentic and misleading. In addition, to the average citizen, having this "instant identifier" is unnecessary. And more, Floyd doesn't need a brand.

The typical Floyd County citizen who was asked "does Floyd need a brand?" would likely say NO. They do not deal on a daily basis with potential clients, customers or visitors to whom they need to convey in a very short time a great deal of information. This “communication symbol” in letterheads, ads or marketing will be most useful not to the average citizen but to the organizations that support and represent those citizens every day to the wider public outside Floyd's boundaries. So the average citizen does not have a direct personal need for this kind of emblem, font, color scheme, it's true.

While it could be argued that Floyd could use a brand, Floyd doesn't need to create a brand--"what people say about

your community when you're not there." Floyd already possesses this kind of diverse self-identity. People inside the community have a broad perception of where, who and what Floyd is. It is probably more accurate and complete than

is the perception of people outside the community. In this way, a brand is more an anchor than a sail, symbolic of

what is unique and good and deeply rooted more than a desire for future change.

The argument could be made that those who represent Floyd County and town to grant-funding agencies, tourism agencies, governmental bodies outside the area and potential employers could effectively use common, striking "instant identifier" in all communications--print, web, signage and such--that notifies and reminds those people of the "Who, what and where" of Floyd.

This "reputational representation" would be a common expression of our values, our roots, our hopes and our assets--a "what's inside the box" emblem and phrase as unique as a signature. With use over time, the Floyd "identity emblem" would become indelibly linked to the totality of all that is Floyd--a picture worth a thousand words. It does not mean we are for sale. It means we stand for something. Its purpose is not to make money but to become part of our collective voice and reputation.

Wendell Berry has said "What I stand on is what I stand for." There is, in this, food for thought.

Tourism Mission, Vision & Goal

Mission Statement

The Tourism Mission Statement for Floyd County is:

to promote the unique cultural and natural resources of Floyd County, while preserving and enhancing our economic sustainability and quality of life.

Vision Statement

The Tourism Vision Statement for Floyd County is:

Floyd County will be a prosperous, eclectic community in Southwest Virginia that maintains its small town charm, natural beauty, and unique attractions.

small town charm, natural beauty, and unique attractions. xvi Visioning/Planning Participant Quote Excerpts:

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Visioning/Planning

Participant Quote Excerpts:

“Today’s authenticity and eclecticness, with greater prosperity”

“A leading community in the green movement that focuses on sustainability with excellent tourism resources…”

“A place that didn’t sell its soul”

“…authentic Blue Ridge mountain community…”

“The most, prosperous, eclectic, green friendly community in Southwest Virginia”

“…green, authentic, totally sustainable…”

“… preserved and sustained its authentic small town charm, natural beauty, and unique attractions…”

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Tourism Goals, Objectives, Measures, Targets, & Initiatives/Tasks

Following are the identified tourism strategic plan goals, objectives and related implementation measures, targets, and initiatives/tasks, as identified by the planning participants. Utilization of the identified measures and targets, and completion of the listed initiatives and tasks, will result in significant progress toward each tourism goal and objective. This is a three- to five-year plan, and the proposed committee is tasked with setting dates for each measure upon adoption of the Plan.

Goal 1

Objective 1

Reach potential visitors

Improve/Enhance our communication with potential visitors

Measure 1.1

The County and Town will establish a tourism committee (appointed by local governments with representatives from various sectors of the tourism industry) to pursue Plan implementation and serve in advisory role to local government

Initiatives & Tasks 1.1

Upon adoption of the Tourism Plan, work to establish the committee: County and Town staff

Measure 1.2

required match to create a recognizable emblem for Floyd to help make promotions easier and more unified. The emblem would be available broadly, but use would be

entirely voluntary.

The private sector may pursue state grant funding and provide the

Initiatives & Tasks 1.2

Raise $6,000-$10,000 from grants and private sector to pay for coordinated

emblem/image effort: Private sector; grant application by County/staff

Secure firm or resource that will develop images: Private sector

Reach out to all segments of the community: Private sector, local government staff

Establish relationship to “Made in Floyd” effort: Tourism committee, economic development entities

Review and provide all input regarding emblem/formal image development: citizens of Floyd County, especially in tourism and arts sectors

Measure 1.4

Develop a comprehensive tourism marketing plan for Floyd

Initiatives & Tasks 1.4

Develop draft/framework for plan: Subcommittee of Tourism Committee

Collect, consider, and determine applicable information (i.e. data, opportunities, etc.):

Subcommittee of Tourism Committee

Complete final draft of plan for review and input by interested parties: Tourism Committee

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Measure 1.5

Create a comprehensive “official” Floyd web site to include all visitor information (County, town, and/or neutral part)

Initiatives & Tasks 1.5

Identify and secure funding: Tourism Committee

Engage local web developers (including Citizens) to potentially manage/host the site:

Tourism Sub-committee

Work with the Chamber, Lodging Association, and newly formed tourism committee to design and populate website: Tourism Sub-committee

Develop a process for creation and maintenance of the website: Tourism Committee

Develop centralized visitor calendar: Tourism Committee

Measure 1.6

Develop support (public and private) for a full-time tourism director to do tourism promotion and development efforts

Initiatives & Tasks 1.6

Evaluate the feasibility of and plan for hiring a full-time tourism director: Tourism committee

Provide results of feasibility research to the government officials, associations, organizations, etc.: Tourism Committee

Make official request for position implementation (if feasible): Tourism Committee

etc.: Tourism Committee • Make official request for position implementation (if feasible): Tourism Committee

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Goal 2

Objective 2

Provide a great visitor experience to increase repeat visitation and word-of- mouth promotion

Improve/Enhance visitor services and tourism infrastructure

Measure 2.1

Begin measuring customer service through a comment card program

Initiatives & Tasks 2.1

Create cards : Chamber of Commerce

Secure business partners to participate in program: Chamber of Commerce

Implement program, collect data, and report results: Chamber of Commerce

Evaluate program and make needed adjustments: Chamber of Commerce

Measure 2.2

Provide VTC’s customer service training to businesses

Initiatives & Tasks 2.2

Contact VTC to schedule training: Sally Sagebiel/Chamber of Commerce

Begin promotion of workshop: Sally Sagebiel/Chamber of Commerce

Measure 2.3

Establish a centralized, official visitor center

Initiatives & Tasks 2.3

Determine and consider official visitors center guidelines: Chamber of Commerce

Develop operations and staffing plan: Chamber of Commerce

Develop budget and determine potential funding streams: Chamber of Commerce

Consider potential building and locations: Chamber of Commerce

Develop applicable programs and services including inventory, travel information, etc. :

Chamber of Commerce

Measure 2.4

Develop and implement visitor walking accessibility plan for events, shopping, etc.

Initiatives & Tasks 2.4

Develop signage plan (incorporating new brand) with consideration given to applicable parking analysis: Tourism Sub-committee

Secure funding for signage plan: Tourism Committee

given to applicable parking analysis: Tourism Sub-committee • Secure funding for signage plan: Tourism Committee
given to applicable parking analysis: Tourism Sub-committee • Secure funding for signage plan: Tourism Committee

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Goal 3

Objective 3

Adequate funding for tourism promotion/ development

Increase/Leverage funding dedicated to tourism promotion and development

Measure 3.1

tourism promotion, including dialogue with County and Town government

The Committee (private sector) will pursue additional resources for

Initiatives & Tasks 3.1

Look into Meals tax . … Private sector could work with area legislators to introduce legislation: Private Sector

Develop a public education plan and supporting materials (including benefits, alternatives, and clear purpose) and implement: Private sector

Form a legislative advocacy committee that includes county, chamber, tourism businesses, etc.: Private sector

Meet with local elected officials regarding topic and needed support: Private sector

Initiatives & Tasks 3.2

Chamber and tourism committee to meet with town and county officials and begin discussion and discuss possibilities

Measure 3.3

A private sector funding partnership will re-establish itself, providing applicable benefits to those participating partners (pay-to-play)

Target 3.3

$30,000

Initiatives & Tasks 3.3

Develop partnership plan/structure with input from potential private sector partners :

Private sector partners

Determine any guidelines of potential public sector partner funding sources that may impact the partnership (i.e. government funds that must be used to promote all businesses and not just participating private sector partners) : Private sector partners

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Goal 4

Objective 4

Maintain the Floyd experience and sense of place for both residents and visitors

Develop and promote tourism in a sustainable, strategic approach to avoid over-growth and non-organic development

Measure 4.1

Request a parking analysis by the Town and County governments to increase the available parking as determined by the analysis (Expand parking opportunities in Town)

Initiatives & Tasks 4.1

Make analysis request to town and county officials: Tourism committee

Seek PDC Transportation services to complete study/evaluation: Floyd County Planning Commission/Staff

Measure 4.2

Review any land-related opportunities, to encourage protection of agriculture and farming

Initiatives & Tasks

Present concern to the Floyd County Planning Commission: Tourism committee

Be aware with the New River Valley Green Infrastructure group: All

Measure 4.3

Develop plan to ensure that cultural/heritage qualities such as music, history, arts and crafts remain a premier component of the Floyd visitor experience

Initiatives & Tasks

Tourism committee to develop plan to include an internal communication strategy to gather, maintain, and promote all cultural/heritage activities throughout the year – which would also encourage collaboration of all efforts to benefit tourism as well

activities throughout the year – which would also encourage collaboration of all efforts to benefit tourism

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Conclusion

Floyd County, the Town of Floyd, area businesses and citizens recognize the significance of tourism. The action taken to date to support and develop tourism serves as evidence of that recognition. However, tourism has grown in the area in the past without centralized planning from a larger tourism stakeholder group. This first tourism strategic plan for Floyd County is intended to build upon past growth, but provide guidance for additional sustainable growth in the future.

Citizens and representatives from both the private and public sector of Floyd County/Town of Floyd will need to take a leadership role in overseeing implementation of this plan. The targets and measures of this plan were determined during the planning process, and will serve as reference for performance evaluation. To encourage progress toward the established targets, this plan should be reviewed by the locality officials and the appropriate tourism representatives on a monthly basis (from the date of formal adoption of this plan). Upon each review, any adjustments that need to be made to this plan can be discussed. Once a majority of the targets have been met, a new/updated plan should be developed.

Using this plan as guidance, Floyd County is expected to make significant progress toward the development and promotion of tourism in a strategic approach. It is imperative that the plan be referenced consistently as any new tourism related discussions occur and as all applicable decisions are made. While new ideas and recommendations should be considered in the future, officials should reference this plan and determine if implementing any new ideas and recommendations is feasible and in accordance with this plan.

This document should also serve as a reference piece for tourism entrepreneurs and businesses that are considering locating within Floyd County and should be available for distribution at local economic development offices and other appropriate distribution sites.

and should be available for distribution at local economic development offices and other appropriate distribution sites.

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Terms & Definitions

Goals: Broad statement of measurable outcomes to be achieved on behalf of customers

Initiatives/Tasks: Specific programs, strategies, and activities that will help you meet your performance targets

Measures:

Meaningful indicators that assess progress towards accomplishment of goals and

objectives

Mission Statement:

Statement of purpose; fundamental reason for the tourism effort existence

Objective: Statements of what you must do well or barriers that you must overcome to achieve a specific goal

Opportunities: Factors or situations that exist beyond your organization that may have a favorable effect on it

Strengths: Resources or capabilities that can be used to accomplish your mission

Target:

The numerical value of the performance measure you hope to achieve

Target Customers/Tourists: Any person, group, or organization that is believed to have an interest in utilizing your tourism related product(s) and/or service(s)

Threats: Factors or situations that exist beyond your organization that can negatively affect it

Tourism Assets: Any tourism related product, attraction, site, or event that is of interest to target customers/tourists

Vision Statement: A word picture of the future that the organization/tourism effort intends ultimately to become or to influence

Weaknesses: Deficiencies in resources or capabilities that hinder your ability to be successful