I'm heading back to Canada tomorrow. My time in Jamaica reminded me of a conversation I had with a Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau representative @seattlemaven during IMEX America. A few moments after I snapped these photos, I thought about her comment. She pointed out that tourist boards and visitor and convention bureaus are underutilized by event planners.
What can they do for you? They can assist planners with proposals from hotels, resorts and event venues. With enough notice they can also help with tour guides and staff for large conferences. For corporate events, I have obtained gifts and door prizes with a local flair at no charge from tourist boards including stuffed baby orangutans from Singapore and toy camels and sand pictures from Dubai.
The information on their websites can save event and meeting planners a lot of time. You'll usually find a calendar of events as well as guides to attractions and transportation. Many have meeting planner guides on-line or in magazine format. Japan, Germany and Jamaica have produced special guides for business meetings and incentive travel. If you're looking for maps, DVDs, photos, images for your website or proposals, city or country guides, brochures, magazines, and transit maps, all it takes is a call or e-mail to a convention and visitors bureau or tourism board. If there is an office in your city, some tourist boards will even send a representative to accompany event planners who are making presentations to prospective corporate event planning clients.
At your destination, if you require additional resources or information, contact the tourist board or convention and visitors bureau. In Jamaica, the tourist board has kiosks in popular resort areas and guides strolling the area to assist visitors.
Many tourist boards are active on social media. For example, Jamaica Tourist Board has the @askjamaica account where event planners can get instant answers. Singapore Tourism Board provides regular updates @SingaporeUpdate on Twitter.
Tourist boards and convention and visitors bureaus will never replace event planning firms, however, they can save event, meeting and conference planners a lot of time.
Photo Credits: Executive Oasis International
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