Friday, June 25, 2010

2009 - Visitors Up, Spending Down

During the recession-dominant 2009 calendar year, visitation to Durham by non-residents for purposes other than work or school continued its upward trend to well over six million visitors. But the economic downturn definitely had a sobering effect, shifting the balance of visitors to 84% daytrip and 16% overnight (including those using commercial lodging).

To put this into perspective, that means Durham reaped an additional 320,000 day visitors but lost 70,000 overnight visitors, on top of last year’s decline of 20,000 overnight visitors.
DCVB receives estimates of the number of visitors to Durham from D.K. Shifflet and Associates, one of the leading U.S. consumer travel research firms, based on data collected from over 60,000 households every month of the year.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

  • Visitation GREW by 4.4% in 2009 to 6.31 million.
  • The growth was driven totally by leisure travel, which grew by 9.2%, most of which was on the day trip side. Overnight leisure travel experienced a slight decline (-2.7%).
  • Business travel declined 6.2%, driven primarily by a 12.7% decline in overnight business travel.
  • Overall visitor spending in 2009 was down by 2.7% to $627.7 million.
  • More than 72% of all visitor spending in 2009 was attributed to leisure visitors, with 27.7% from business travelers. This is a stark difference from ten years ago when there was a split of 51% of visitor expenditures were from business travelers while 49% was from leisure visitors.

In comparison, in the United States:

  • Overall visitation declined 4.3% to 2.8 billion.
  • The decline was led by an 11.3% decline in business travel and a 1.9% decline in leisure travel.

In the 21 years, since Durham chartered DCVB to spearhead visitor centric cultural and economic development, the community has reaped more than $9.7 billion in spending, more than $400 million in local tax revenue to lighten the load on residents, and helped sustain $2.2 billion in capital investment.

The King's Daughters Inn Recognized for Green Ventures

Congratulations are in order for The King's Daughters Inn for their recognition as the Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise of the Year awarded last Friday in Durham's Research Triangle Park headquarters by the Institute for Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Enterprise Awards recognize organizations for the examples they set in advancing triple bottom line sustainability.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau was also one of six finalists for Sustainable Enterprise of the Year. To date, DCVB is still the first and only destination marketing organization in the nation to be Green Plus Certified based on a commitment to people, performance, and the planet.

The Institute for Sustainable Development is a public-private partnership between centers at Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Greater Durham Chambers of Commerce, the Fenwick Foundation, and the Foundation for a Sustainable Community. Durham-based GlaxoSmithKline is also a major corporate supporter.

Although The King's Daughters Inn is located in a building that was originally constructed in 1926 (when "green" referred mostly to farmland), its new owners, Deanna and Colin Crossman, have brought it up to the 2010 definition of Green with many environmentally friendly renovations, including a 10,000-gallon rainwater cistern, rain garden, pervious concrete, gray water system, and LED lights. For more detailed information on these and other green features at The King's Daughters Inn, click here.

Durham-based Riley Life Industries was also awarded the Green Plus Small Business of the Year award. In addition to Kings Daughter's Inn and DCVB, Mez Mexican Restaurant is also Green-Plus Certified. Other hospitality sector businesses in Durham seeking certification include Dos Perros (a finalist for Green Plus Small Business of the Year), Triangle Community Foundation (finalist for Green Plus Non-Profit of the Year), Beyú Caffé, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Northgate Mall, R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center, and Watts Grocery.

DCVB Brings Home Awards

In the 11th year of independent out-of-state judging, the Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina has announced the winners in its annual Destination Marketing Achievement Awards program.
Durham's marketing agency, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, received five awards, bringing its total over 11 years to 65 awards. This year DCVB received three innovation awards, plus a platinum and gold award for destination marketing initiatives.
Awards to Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are broken down by the organization's size and into different categories of innovations and marketing initiatives. Durham is evaluated in comparison to places including Asheville, Charlotte, Currituck, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington. There were 22 awards given to large bureaus, with DCVB earning 23% of the awards, just 1 award shy of the six won by Currituck.
"I'm particularly pleased with the Platinum (highest) Award DCVB received for its cooperative program with The Herald-Sun touting Durham as the place Where Great Things Happen," said Shelly Green, President & CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Rick Bean, publisher of The Herald-Sun, was very generous in providing space for 52 full-page ads over the course of the year, so the community could better understand and celebrate Durham's distinct personality and overarching brand."
And make no mistake, Durhamites know their community's brand, as evidenced by a scientific public opinion poll where 83% of residents reported familiarity with the brand.
DCVB received a Gold Award in the category of "outreach programs" for its 4-part series (and white paper) on the Economic Impact of Visitors to Durham, which describes in layman's terms the economic benefits of destination marketing and how that translates to spending, tax revenue, and jobs. In addition to receiving recognition in this arena, the piece was lauded by the Southeast Tourism Society and a nationally-known tourism consultant. It also garnered DCVB a place on a panel of advocacy experts in a national webinar for Destination Marketing Association International.
Recognized nationwide for innovations in Destination Marketing, DCVB has garnered 29 innovation awards in the six years since the awards were established by DMANC. These entries are judged "blind" and are great affirmation of one of DCVB's most important core values: CANI – Continual And Never-ending Improvement.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Food Fans Unite

With its vibrant local food scene, is it any wonder that Durham plays host to unique community food events? One of the most notable events is Slow Food’s annual Traditional Southern New Year’s Day event, a communal dinner of collards, cornbread, hoppin’ john, and more. Then there is the Triangle Vegetarian Society’s Thanksgiving Feast at Café Parizäde, the country’s largest Vegan Thanksgiving event.
More recently, a group organized as “a fresh bunch of humans interested in a cooperative exploration of food, timely celebrations, and the tilting of the planet in the North Carolina Piedmont” created the Yum Yum Supper Club. Holding quarterly “Eventuals” (events+ritual) around the changing of the seasons, Yum Yum Supper Club menus are dictated by the seasonal growing cycles. These types of events, like so many other grassroot events in Durham, bring together people with common interests, a true testament to the inclusive, original, and community-spirited nature of this great place.
If dining in Durham with other food fans offers great appeal, consider these upcoming opportunities. Some are communal dinners, others are cooking classes, guided tours, and food festivals, but all promise to please the palette while introducing new friends.
Bull City Food Vendor Roundup
June 27 – Farmer’s Market Pavillion – Featuring Only Burger, Indian Food on Wheels, Bulkogi, Parlez-Vous Crepe, Mom's Delicious Dishes, Kona Chameleon, and Locopops, Liberacion Juice Station, and Joe's Diner hot dog cart. Chop Shop Cooking Class at Revolution Restaurant
July 18 – Work hands-on with Chef Anile and his culinary team in this class of 6 students to create a special menu, after which everyone enjoys the meal.
Durham Farmers’ Market
June 26 – 2nd Annual Chef Challenge with Dave Alworth from Guglhupf, Billy Cotter from Toast and Justin Rakes from Four Square. Shop. Cook. Taste.
July 3 – Chef in the Market – Chuck Hayworth – Worth It Cafe
July 31– Chef in the Market – Jim Anile from Revolution
August 7 – Chef in the Market - Shane Ingram from Four Square
Elodie Farms – Dinners on the Front Porch
Monthly dinners featuring some of the best chefs in the region. Remaining 2010 Dates: July 24, August 7, September 18, October 16, November 6 and December 4.
Fullsteam Brewery – Beer 201: Discovering Off-Flavors
July 23 – Advanced study in beer appreciation in this “Opening Soon” Brewery.
Nana’s Wine Dinners (with Hope Valley Bottle Shop)
June 22 – Trefethen Vineyards ($55 per person)
July 20 – Rosseler Cellars ($60 per person)
New Orleans Wine Dinner at Blu Seafood and Bar
July 14 – Wine Pairings by Hope Valley Bottle Shop ($ ___)
Six Plates Wine Bar - TxakoliFest
July 24 – TxakoliFest is to Six Plates what Octoberfest is to Germany. Wine Festival celebrating this slightly sparkling very dry white wine with high acidity and low alcohol content produced in the Basque Country.
Taste Carolina Downtown Durham Food Tours
Saturdays, 2 – 5 p.m. ($39)
Williams Sonoma at The Streets at Southpoint
June 22 – Cooking class with Chef Charlie Deal of Dos Perros teaching how to make mole. ($35)

Bull City Connector Set to Launch

The long-awaited Bull City Connector is on schedule to launch August 16, providing fare-free service from Golden Belt on the east end to Duke South Clinic at Duke University Medical Center on the western side, including stops throughout Downtown, Duke University, and Ninth Street. In addition to the new route, the current DATA Bus Route 5 will be free for NCCU students and faculty to help them access the Bull City Connector.
The connector buses will run Monday through Saturday from 7am-6pm at 15 minute intervals and from 6pm-midnight in 20 minute intervals.

In preparation, DCVB has been working with DATA and the City of Durham on a route map for riders. DCVB is also working with several Duke students who are preparing a flyer for returning students to educate them on the restaurants and cultural facilities that are easily accessible via the Connector. Additionally, DCVB, Duke University, the Durham Chamber, and DDI are working together to coordinate efforts to promote the route to residents and visitors.