studies Switzerland County
recommendations due in November
(November 2008) In June, business owners in
Switzerland County may have noticed a pair of strangers in town who
seemed to linger for awhile and ask a lot of questions. As it turned
out, its not quite as suspicious as it sounds.
On Sept. 24 at a public meeting, Seattle-based tourism
consultant Roger Brooks, of Destination Development Group, gave a presentation
about marketing efforts in the community that he surveyed during a 2
1/2 day assessment of the southern Indiana community. Brooks, who has
surveyed more than 400 communities throughout the nation, has worked
in the tourism and resort development industry for more than 20 years.
His expertise in the industry has led to hundreds of success stories.
He is well-known for his step-by-step instructions in helping communities
build tourism development programs.
He and Destination Developments Monica Dixon secret shopped
in Switzerland County in June. Their full report, with recommendations,
will be finalized and presented to the community by mid-November, officials
Switzerland County was one of 11 Indiana communities that received $5,000
from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development to help cover the cost
of Brooks assessment.
Each community will participate in a community assessment program designed
to help improve tourism and economic development. The program helps
communities identify and implement ways to increase tourism marketing
for future economic success.
Weve been doing a lot of projects in our community, said
Switzerland County Tourisms Executive Director David Attaway.
Sometimes, an outsiders perspective on things gives a new
edge or helps refocus attention on issues that need to be addressed.
Martha Bladen, co-owner of the unique shop The Bizarre Ladies, said
the pair came to her shop. I felt it was informative to look at
our business community through outside eyes, she said. Brooks
gave great examples of both positives and negatives he found throughout
the community. I thought the experience was a benefit.
Bladen is also the director of the Switzerland County Historical Museum,
which Brooks visited. He told me the stories I present with each
item in the museum help it to stand out from the average museum that
simply displays items, she said.
Attaway said during the initial presentation of his findings, Brooks
seemed to have an overall positive impression about the town. He
gave a glowing review of tourism services at Belterra Casino Resort
and Spa. Brooks also suggested that downtown Vevay, Ind., may
want to look into pull-in parking along its thoroughfares.
Switzerland County Tourism Events Coordinator Natasha Turner said Brooks
presented a brief overview of a few things. He said we have the
basic bones; we need to grow from there. One improvement Brooks
suggested was to get rid of portable signs.
Brooks spent nearly a week in Madison, Ind., in early April to critique
the town from an outsiders perspective. He has also been contracted
by the city to help design a logo and brand for Madison.
Back to November 2008