Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Regional marketing program to highlight biking

October 18, 2007
Times Argus, Montpelier VT

Biking has been an integral component the region's marketing effort for nearly two decades, but there will be special emphasis on the self-propelled recreation mode in the coming year.

Vermont's regional marketing program has made a provisional funding award for marketing Central Vermont's biking assets to visitors and residents. These include recreation paths, bike trails, bike touring, and cycling events.

Approved promotional vehicles include ad placement, welcome center displays and web enhancement.

The Central Vermont grant award was announced by Susan Zeller, deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Finance & Management after review of application from the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce. The review committee included the state's chief marketing officer, the regional marketing grant manager and the assistant state curator.

One of the initial objectives will be to assemble a comprehensive list of biking-related opportunities, guides, services, events, and attractions.

The Central Vermont Chamber began marketing biking in a joint venture with the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission in the early 1990s. The commission provided descriptions of a number of off-road bike tours and the Chamber compiled and published them. Several years ago, the commission added a number of new tours, and the Chamber – with the assistance of Onion River Sports – produced an expanded guide that has proven to be extremely popular.

The last remaining copies were distributed at the Big E exposition in Massachusetts last month. The grant will provide funding to add graphic enhancements and reprint the guide in the spring.

Chamber President Bill Cody said the modest state investment in regional marketing grants provides a vital boost to private-sector travel marketing efforts. "The state's continued commitment to regional marketing is deeply appreciated."

(George Malek is executive director of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.)

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