Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last Minute Ideas to Ring in the New Year

Procrastinators, take heed!  It's almost New Years Eve, and it's possible that some of you haven't given much thought to where to close the 2010 chapter and greet 2011.  Worry not...DCVB's got you covered.

In case you missed looking at the Weekly Durham Community Event Calendar earlier this week, click here and check out a dozen or so places you could go.   Among Durham's great attributes is its open and inclusive nature...don't want to exclude anyone that wants to join the party.  So, unlike other lists in circulation, this is more broad spectrum.  Additionally, the official Durham fan page on Facebook has a posting that fans can ad to about places with last minute availability.

So, Eat, Drink and be Merry!  Wash away 2010 - whether it was good or bad - and welcome's almost the first day of a whole new decade.  Be safe and enjoy.

Happy New Year from DCVB

As 2010 comes to a close, DCVB would like to thank all of the people who continue to make Durham a place where great things happen. We’re thankful we live in a community that embraces its diversity, thinks differently and creatively, and has unlimited passion for the things it values. And yet, despite its worldliness, it’s still neighborly and caring; warm and welcoming.

The entire DCVB team wishes you and yours an enriching and prosperous year in 2011.

Bull City Connector Expands Morning Service

In an effort to improve convenience, Durham’s fare free bus, called the Bull City Connector (BCC), has expanded its morning service to help commuters get to work by 7 a.m. The BCC connects Durham’s east side at Golden Belt to Duke University Hospital on the west side with a special leg that ties in North Carolina Central University to the south. The Bull City Connector is a fare-free service.

On January 3, the BCC will start westbound trips one hour earlier, with the first departure from Golden Belt at 6:22 a.m., from Durham Station at 6:31 a.m., and arriving at the Duke University Hospital stop at 6:45 a.m. Eastbound trips will begin 15 minutes earlier from Duke University Hospital at 6:45 a.m.
Started in August 2010, the BCC has transported over 100,000 passengers to Duke University, Downtown Durham, Ninth Street, and Golden Belt on its 40+ stop route. Several stops have been added since the service began to improve overall convenience. Schedule information and bus stop locations can be found on the BCC web site, designed and maintained by DCVB.

The Bull City Connector is managed by the City's Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA) with major support from Duke University. DATA is operated by the Triangle Transit Authority (TTA). The service reduces overall traffic congestion downtown and improves access for visitors and residents alike.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tourism Factor In #11 Best Place For Business

See DCVB's President Emeritus Reyn Bowman's blog below for a rather focused look behind a ranking and learn a bit more about why Durham is now being included on some lists it had never graced previously.  It is also important to note that rankings such as these are using the word "city" to refer to Metropolitan Statisical Areas which is an improper reference.  Follow the link to see the US Census' definition to learn more.

Tourism Factor In #11 Best Place For Business
Bull City Mutterings
Reyn Bowman

Because it crossed the 500,000 mark in population, the Durham NC MSA is included for the first time in the MarketWatch “best of” measures.

Also new this year in the “best places for business” methodology are new and improved metrics for tourism just released this month and signaling the growing influence of visitor centric economic and cultural development for communities.

Continue reading this blog post...

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Translation App Not Just for TechnoGeeks

The Durham News Service is run by the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, a destination marketing organization.  DCVB gets excited about new technology that makes travel easier and more accessible.  This new application for the iPhone is just such a development. 

The app translates text (right now only between English and Spanish or Spanish and English) in real time using the camera - it doesn't even require a network connection (translate - if you are traveling outside the U.S., you do not need to worry about costly International roaming fees). 

The full version will set users back a mere $4.99.  A free version has a nifty text reversal feature that is novel, if nothing else.  Watch the introductory video.  It's called Word Lens and it's likely to be a big hit with those looking to break down language barriers.  It may even be a useful tool in the workplace for employees whose native language is Spanish requiring the need to constantly translate words into English. 

A Typical Case of “Community” Identity Theft

On a normal day marketing is merely a multi-faceted and highly complex process.  Other days, however, it's an all-out scramble to keep alot of balls in the air. 

What follows is a post about a major aspect of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau's work.  It's typically referred to as "defending the brand."  Sometimes it seems the effort is akin to whispering in a hurricane or asking a mouse to pull a freight train.  But delivered consistently, week after week, year after year, the efforts do pay off.  Here is a blog post written by DCVB's President Emeritus, considered an expert in community image and brand.

A Typical Case of "Community" Identity TheftBull City Mutterings
Reyn Bowman

If you ever wonder why “36 Hours” in the NYTs tried to cover Durham as part of two huge metro areas lumped together (an impossibility by the way) but gave tiny Sun Valley in the center of my homestate of Idaho an issue all its own, look no further than this announcement related to the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards, R.I.P.

It is information like this, distributed either directly by Raleigh-based WRAL to publications like USA Today and others or relayed via the Raleigh-based office of Associated Press for North Carolina that pollutes and distorts, some say deliberately, Durham’s identity.

Continue reading this blog post...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Google Bits - An update

It's not much, but at least now there's an update from the folks in Mountain View.  Here's the copy of their message to the organizations that completed applications:

Hello from Google,

Earlier this year your community expressed interest in our experimental ultra high-speed broadband network, and I wanted to send you a quick update on where that project stands.

First, I’m excited to announce that this week I joined Google as Vice President of Access Services, where I’ll be overseeing the Google Fiber team. So far I’ve been getting up to speed on the progress our team has made over the past several months – from experimenting with new fiber deployment technologies here on Google’s campus, to announcing a “beta” network to 850 homes at Stanford – and I’m excited for us to take the next step of bringing our ultra high-speed network to a community.

Second, this morning we plan to announce that Google will be delaying the announcement of our selected community or communities. We had planned to announce by the end of this year, but the level of interest was incredible – nearly 1,100 communities across the country responded to our announcement – and exceeded our expectations.

We’re sorry for this delay, but we want to make sure we get this right. To be clear, we’re not re-opening our selection process, but simply need more time to decide than we had anticipated. Stay tuned for an announcement in early 2011.

Thank you again for your enthusiasm and interest in our project.

Milo Medin
Vice President, Access Services

So, fingers crossed...still. 

Durham Featured on the Cover of 2011 NC State Travel Guide

Durham got a pat on the back from the State Division of Tourism today…in fact, it got 600,000 of them as Durham will be featured on the cover of the 2011 Travel Guide. That means when a prospective visitor requests information about North Carolina, the very first thing they will see is Durham. The image was taken in Brightleaf Square, an eclectic and diverse collection of shops and restaurants in Durham. Brightleaf Square is one of Durham’s many unique visitor features.

“To say that we are thrilled is an understatement,” said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This is a very big deal for Durham. It’s an awesome responsibility to be the “face” of NC as a visitor destination, but we think we’re up to the challenge,” she added.

Being selected for the cover of The Official 2011 Travel Guide is quite an honor. The state spends approximately $10.5 million annually - $3.5 million in advertising placements alone - to drive visitation to North Carolina. When coupled with the marketing and promotion done by local destination marketing organizations such as DCVB, the results are very positive.

In Durham alone last year, there were 6.3 million visitors who spent $627 million. That resulted in more than $37 million in local tax revenue. Visitor spending fuels more than 10,600 jobs in Durham, and without the taxes it generates, each household in Durham would pay an additional $700 a year in taxes to maintain the current level of government services. Despite a sluggish economy, visitation to Durham grew by more than 250,000 people last year.

Being on the cover of the State’s guide will provide a significant increase in exposure to Durham as a destination. Here are some facts about the guide:
  • 600,000 printed copies are produced
  • They are available free-of-charge at all nine state Welcome Centers, by calling 1-800-VISIT-NC or online at
  • The guides feature 800 attractions, 4,000 accommodations and travel resources in all 100 counties
  • The online version of the guide is the most technologically advanced of any state travel guide. Electronic extras include video tours, barcode scans, and interactive maps 
Durham, North Carolina is an open and welcoming community of creative and entrepreneurial people. It is consistently ranked among the greatest places to live, work and visit.

Official Durham Publications and Information

Friday, December 10, 2010

DCVB Releases 2010 Annual Report

The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau is Durham's marketing agency; the community's way to attract and serve visitors.  It's primary role is to tell the Durham story and get the community on the list for consideration as a place for conventions, meetings, getaways, and all kinds of visitation. 

Each year, the organization distributes an annual report; a brief recap of DCVB's role to spearhead the economic and cultural development of Durham through visitor marketing and promotion.

"This year's report indicates a bright light peaking through the end of the recession tunnel," said Shelly Green, DCVB President & CEO.  "We're proud to report report that visitation to Durham in 2009 was at an all-time high with 6.31 million visitors, even though spending was down." 

The report will help readers understand more about visitor-related impacts on Durham and why Durham is "Where Great Things Happen."


Frank DePasquale, 85, Iconic Durham Architect

The passing of Frank DePasquale leaves a void for his friends and family; he was a loved man and respected architect for decades.  Fortunately, though, for them and those in Durham, the blow of his passing is softened by the enormity of his contributions to this place.  "He was a leading architect in Durham, having designed and adaptively reusing some of Durham's most notable structures, from the Hayti Heritage Center to the Durham Arts Council, winning awards for both of these projects. He was also instrumental in working with City official to create the Historic District Commission in Durham City government," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Celebrated at Durham's Annual Tribute Luncheon this year, Depasquale was featured in a video wherein he described his work and career in his own words. The Annual Tribute Luncheon is an occassion to celebrate a part of Durham's unique sense of place.  "The preservation of architecture is an important expression of the history of our forefathers and the way that they lived. It is a teaching tool and stepping stone of knowledge into the future for those not living today, but for future generations to use to improve the quality of life for all," DePasquale said.

In his career, DePasquale designed many of the buildings that are distinctly Durham.  In addition to The Hayti Heritage Center and The Durham Arts Council, he designed many churches, schools and dozens of homes.  He served as President of Durham Central Park and championed the development of a downtown park from several blocks filled with weeds and derelict buildings. He later designed The George Watts Hill Pavilion for the Arts, an elegant bronze casting facility in Durham Central Park, a project that earned his another Golden Leaf Award in 2006. A slogan he used often was “Downtown Durham isn’t dying…it’s only changing.”

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Smarty Pants

Durham is sitting pretty as the fourth smartest "city" in the United States in a ranking by released this morning.  It's a nice feather in Durham's cap, for sure, and those who live and work here should well be proud. 

Basically, it says that Durham is full of smart people. 

The ranking is fully described in the attached article, and it should be noted that the study from which it was generated, like so many others, is not just of a single city.  The study looked at Metropolitan Statistical Areas, so Durham's ranking included data from the four counties that make up the Durham, NC MSA - Chatham, Durham, Orange and Person.

The study uses educational achievement (and the resulting earning power) to determine rankings.  Take a look at a slide show of the winners here.

Durham is regularly lauded as a great place to live, was recently ranked by Money Magazine as the number one place in the US to retire, and is home to a dizzying array of cultural, medical, educational and business assets that make it the place where great things happen.