RALEIGH — The North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development recently unveiled “The Official 2013 North Carolina Travel Guide.” A new photo-centric design and state-of-the-art digital options bring natural, man-made and historic attractions to life in a handbook that’s unique among state travel guidebooks.
Two covers are available for the guide, which takes in more than 800 attractions, nearly 4,000 accommodations and travel resources in every county. One cover photo features mountain kayaking in recognition of the Nantahala Gorge as the site of the 2013 International Canoe Federation’s World Freestyle Kayaking Championships, and the other showcases Asheville’s grand Grove Park Inn, celebrating its 100th anniversary. The digital edition, available for Android and iOS, will toggle between these two stunning images.
VisitNC.com will offer a chance to win a “High Altitude” trip to Asheville and Bryson City with a Travel Guide Sweepstakes that runs through January. Visitors can indulge their adventurous side as they brace the rapids at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, home of the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championship, celebrate the 100th anniversary of the historic Grove Park Inn or make a special memory at Biltmore, America’s Largest Home.
“The 2013 North Carolina Travel Guide has a lot in common with an upscale catalog,” said Keith Crisco, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce. “The photography, which captures the state’s alluring beauty, will inspire travelers to make a wish-list of destinations they want to visit.”
The Travel Guide is available for free at all nine North Carolina interstate welcome centers, by calling 1-800-VISITNC (847-4862) or by placing an order at VisitNC.com, the state’s official website for travel information. Online users can access the guide at VisitNC.com/eguide.
Readers of the guide’s print and online editions will find abundant information presented in a design unlike that of any other state travel guide. The Travel Guide features beautiful, large photographs and brief copy blocks on a variety of topics of interest to visitors, including outdoor recreation, food, music, resorts and the Civil War. The pages are modeled after upscale consumer catalogs such as Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware to appeal to North Carolina visitors. The print version directs readers to online extras, and the online edition links directly to videos and related content.
“The 2013 Travel Guide showcases many of the unique things visitors can experience in North Carolina,” Crisco said. “These experiences create wonderful memories and allow visitors to make deeper connections when visiting North Carolina.”
In the digital edition, distributed through Google Currents, Issuu and Scribd social magazine apps, a photo slideshow enlivens the table of contents, and three still-to-life videos lure readers with information about Asheville’s Shindig on the Green, ziplining and hang gliding. Links to VisitNC.com connect users to brochures, itineraries and events as well as an order form for the guide’s print edition. Throughout the guide, animated ads provide more interactivity.
Readers will also notice 2-D “quick response” (QR) barcodes that scanner-equipped cell phones can read to access more information. Additional usefulness comes from a low-tech feature: red “free for all” symbols that point out free activities.
The Division of Tourism will distribute 600,000 copies of the guide. The publication represents a $1.1 million investment by division travel partners in print and online advertising and cooperative marketing efforts. Destinations, attractions and accommodations are listed for free.
Tourism remains one of the state’s most vital industries, generating $22.2 billion a year in economic demand and sustaining 370,000 jobs. Travel-related employment spans all sectors, with nine percent of the state’s wage and salary employment directly or indirectly dependent on tourism. Including indirect and induced impacts, tourism generates $2.6 billion in state and local taxes and $2.7 billion in federal taxes. The industry saves every North Carolina family $419 a year in taxes, according to state officials.