RALEIGH -- “The Official 2014 North Carolina Travel Guide,” unveiled today by the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, reflects the state’s new “Beauty Amplified” tourism brand with a visually rich design and a focus on the wealth of experiences from the mountains to the coast.
“North Carolina’s natural beauty lies at the heart of the state’s appeal,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker in a press release announcing the guide. “Yet it’s more than what the eye takes in. The new Travel Guide inspires you to grab hold of the spirit that’s expressed in our culture, our sense of adventure, our food and drink, and the stories we tell.”
Two covers are available for the guide, which is published in print and digital formats. One features Pinehurst, whose No. 2 golf course will make history in June as the first to host both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open championships on back-to-back weekends. The alternate cover shows Jamani and year-old Bomassa, two of the western lowland gorillas at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2014. Readers of the digital guide will see both images.
“Pinehurst and the North Carolina Zoo are more than well-loved attractions,” said Wit Tuttell, acting assistant Commerce secretary for tourism. “Both are nationally significant as well. Pinehurst has a storied history that reaches another high point with the 2014 championships. And the zoo — the nation’s first state-supported zoo and the first built on the ‘natural habitat’ philosophy — has advanced the cause of species survival. Multiple gorilla births in 2012 is one recent success.”
Beginning today, travelers have a special opportunity to experience both attractions with “Putt & Play: The Travel Guide Sweepstakes.” The “Putt” portion includes accommodations for two at Pinehurst Resort for two nights, three rounds of golf, breakfast, dinner and afternoon tea. The “Play” portion includes accommodations for four at the Hampton Inn of Asheboro, a zoo tour with a personal guide, a catered lunch and a Richland Creek Zip Line Canopy Tour excursion. The prize also comes with $800 in gift cards plus a $500 Visa gift card to help cover transportation costs. Details and the entry form are posted at VisitNC.com.
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. The digital version, distributed through the Scribd and Calaméo, can be accessed at VisitNC.com/eguide. Magazine apps for Android and iOS are also available.
The guide inspires travelers with alluring photographs and concise copy blocks in the style of an upscale catalog. Vibrant images of popular festivals, Southern culture, national parks and other attractions draw readers in and deliver essential information. Sections on beer and cult cuisine cater to travelers with an appetite. Exciting military-related sites are highlighted on two full pages that travel through history from the 1770s to modern times. The text direct readers to VisitNC.com, the Division’s comprehensive travel website, for more information and ideas.
The visual effect is magnified in digital version, where content links to videos and slideshows as well as VisitNC.com. The magazine apps include tap-to-reveal features and pop-ups, as well, plus interactive maps of the Blue Ridge Parkway and beer festivals across the state.
Listings of 885 attractions and nearly 4,000 accommodations are organized by North Carolina’s three main regions — mountains, Piedmont and coast — with an introductory map for orientation. Each section highlights Civil War sites in recognition of the war’s sesquicentennial.
The Division of Tourism will distribute 550,000 copies of the 174-page guide. The publication, which is produced at no cost to taxpayers, represents a $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 with economic activity and employment generated in each of the state’s 100 counties. Annually, visitors to North Carolina spend $19.4 billion, which accounts for nearly 200,000 jobs for North Carolinians. State and local tax revenues, as a result of the visitor spending, totaled more than $1.54 billion in 2012.