Walworth County tourism closes strong
DELAVAN The Walworth County Visitors Bureau ended 2012 with a bang by earning a $24,404 state tourism grant and moving from Elkhorn to a new location in Delavan.
The executive director of the county tourism organization said she expects even more progress in 2013.
"Our goals and challenges are linked together this year," said Kathy Seeberg. "We are moving in to our new building, continuing our winter promotion and looking ahead to the summer and fall."
From its familiar location at 203 E. Walworth St. in downtown Elkhorn, the bureau has moved to the Lake Lawn Airport on Delavan's far east side.
"We are very excited about the move, especially the opportunity for signage along Interstate 43," Seeberg said. "We will also serve as an official state travel center."
The state grant is the third phase of a three-year grant.
"The first year we used the money for research into branding and developing a new logo," Seeberg said. "We developed our ‘Naturally Fun' brand in that first year."
The second year provided funding for the development of "Snow Much Fun," the county's winter initiative.
"While we were not surprised when we received the third installment of the grant, it was not a given," Seeberg said. "We were successful because we brought in a third-party independent firm to document the positive economic impact the winter campaign has."
That economic impact was set at $4.5 million in 2012.
"Walworth County offers a unique travel experience by blending rural charm and urban sophistication," said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett when presenting the grant. "By boosting marketing efforts during a traditionally slower travel time, Walworth County has an opportunity to promote its strengths and attract a new market of travelers."
Continued success for the Walworth County Visitors Bureau will be measured in several ways including expenditures for dining, lodging and shopping, Seeberg said.
"We will also carefully monitor visits to our website, Facebook account and the number of requests we receive for information," she said. "We are seeing those numbers continuing to increase, and we expect that trend to continue in 2013."
The "Snow Much Fun" campaign features a coupon book available at no cost. The books, obtainable by calling the bureau at 262-728-6000, are good until April 15.