Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 26
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

Princeton Wins “Destination” Grant

Ellen Gilbert

The Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau (PRCVB) recently announced that the organization had been approved for funding by the 2008 Destination Marketing Organization Cooperative Marketing Grant Program provided by the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism.

As defined by the PRCVB, the “Princeton region” includes the municipalities of Cranbury, East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton, Hightstown, Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township, Kingston, Lawrence, Montgomery, Pennington, Plainsboro, Princeton Borough, Princeton Township. Robbinsville, Rocky Hill, Skillman, and West Windsor.

The PRCVB received $106,250 for a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes an expansion of its website, search engine marketing, print and online advertising, a direct mail program, and increased distribution of the organization’s publications and communications.

In comments at a press conference held last week, Nassau Inn General Manager and PRCVB Steering Committee Chair Lori Rabon noted that the target audience for this publicity will be meeting and conference planners, as well as “leisure travelers” who will be attracted to the “arts, culture, entertainment, and shopping in the area.”

Past efforts at marketing Princeton as a tourist destination “didn’t make sense,” according to Nancy Byrne, Executive Director, New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism. “What does being ‘part of the Delaware River region’ mean?” she asked, referring to previous descriptions of Princeton’s location. “The Delaware River region includes places such as Camden and Burlington counties. Saying you’re from Princeton puts you on the map. People in China know Princeton.”

Ms. Byrne went on to describe the state’s “great destinations in any direction,” campaign, which apparently has its work cut out for it. “When you say ‘New Jersey’ people cringe,” she observed. “When you say ‘Princeton’ people say ‘that’s not New Jersey.’” The point is, she said, to use the names of towns as a drawing card, rather than just encouraging people to “visit New Jersey.”

Arts Council Executive Director Jeff Nathanson also spoke at last week’s press conference. Referring to the recent opening of the new Arts Council building, he observed that “we have finally opened the new cultural destination in downtown Princeton.” Among the Arts Council’s missions, he said, is “to get more people into Princeton and the region. One of the greatest economic machines in this country,” he added, “is culture and the arts.” Cultural events actually draw larger audiences than professional sports, he said, pointing out that a long-running play will be viewed by many more people than a single evening basketball game. “The economic power of the arts in the country and this region cannot be underestimated,” he concluded.

President and CEO of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Karen Colimore said that the PRCVB “is excited to receive this support from the Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism. This funding strengthens the CVB as the fastest growing component of the Chamber.”

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