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Visit Oxford named Tourism Office of the Year

Visit Oxford
Photo courtesy of Visit Oxford

Visit Oxford has been recognized as the Tourism Office of the Year by the Southeast Tourism Society.

The Shining Example Awards, which have been an industry fixture since 1985, were held last week in Concord, N.C. with Visit Oxford taking home one of the most coveted awards. The Tourism Office of the Year honor is based on overall performance and accomplishments made through effective marketing.

This year’s award was judged on efforts between November 2020 and December 31, 2021. During that time period, Visit Oxford was able to show how its staff worked to mitigate losses due to declining travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the constant changing regulations of the pandemic, the office of only four full-time employees found creative ways to support the local hospitality industry and economy. At the heart of their efforts was finding health-minded tactics to engage visitors while promoting restaurants, retailers, and hotel partners that call Oxford their home.

“I see the talent each day, so I knew that our hard-working staff deserved this recognition, but I was honored that out of such a sizable 14-state area, our office was recognized as a Shining Example in our trade for what we are doing in Oxford,” Kinney Ferris, executive director of Visit Oxford, said.

Through a variety of marketing tactics, Visit Oxford saw record growth from out-of-state markets based on website analytics. The team also relied on their engaging social media content to keep locals and visitors aware of everything happening in Oxford.

The economic impact of these efforts was seen in total travel and tourism funds, as well as taxes collected during 2021. Both were up roughly 19 percent over the same time period in 2020 and nearly identical to the record-breaking numbers set in 2019.

“Locals rarely see the majority of the work done by the staff at Visit Oxford because the work is all part of a strategically focused plan to attract potential visitors through various marketing tactics,” Ferris said. “While we do host events through our office, the majority of what we do is promoting and advertising all the wonderful things Oxford has to offer to people outside of our area.”

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