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Telling Loudoun County’s Story, with Beth Erickson

Episode 107:

Beth Erickson has served as the President and CEO of Visit Loudoun since 2014. Visit Loudoun is in Loudoun County, Virginia and in 2016 alone, they generated almost $1.69 billion in travel spending and supported more than 17,000 jobs in the travel industry and adjacent businesses.

Prior to her current position with Visit Loudoun, Beth served as the Vice President of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, a non-profit organization that works to raise awareness and support for the 180-mile stretch of land lying between Gettysburg, PA and Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia plantation home, Monticello. In 2008, the partnership was recognized by Congress as a National Heritage Area. Beth chairs the government affairs committee for the Virginia Restaurant Lodging Tourism and Hospitality Association. She also serves with numerous organizations including the Loudoun County Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Committee, Loudoun County Economic Development Commission, Loudoun County Economic Development Authority, and many more committees and boards of directors. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Beth about the wildly successful work her organization has been doing to turn Loudoun County, Virginia into a popular and respected travel destination and well-connected cultural center. Listen to our conversation and discover how education, collaboration, and storytelling have served as powerful tools for building up the local travel and tourism industry and have had wide-reaching effects for the entire region.

What You Will Learn:

  • How Beth’s background in manufacturing, marketing, and advertising first exposed her to the world of destination marketing
  • How Loudoun County’s existing reputation as the wine country of the nation’s capital was a rich foundation to build upon
  • How Visit Loudoun works with the Virginia state tourism office to coordinate and bolster their efforts
  • Why Beth’s biggest challenge has been making tourism more visible, and how she has worked with elected officials to “tell Loudoun County’s story”
  • What projects she’s currently working on, including the upcoming opening of a world-class athletics center and training facility
  • Why collaboration and cooperation between “competing” parts of the tourism industry have been impactful on her own work

Why Does Destination Marketing Matter?

Aside from the tremendous economic impact the travel and tourism industry has on an area, destination marketing is a wonderful way to tell the story of a location. Through coordinated education efforts and cooperation with local and state organizations and elected officials, the ripple effect from marketing efforts can boost an entire region.

In Loudoun County’s case, the efforts Beth and her organization are making have been major contributing factors in opening up new avenues for growth. It has helped expand local transit and athletic opportunities, and certainly been an influence on Amazon’s decision to locate their HQ2 a mere 50 miles from Loudoun.

Cooperation Equals Opportunity

As Beth illustrates beautifully in our conversation, cooperation with others has been a powerful tool to help tell Loudoun County’s story. By working with the state tourism office, elected officials and other organizations, Beth’s coordinated efforts have paid dividends for the local travel and tourism industry helping to expand the local economy with new and exciting opportunities for both visitors and residents.

Our industry is a remarkable engine for regional growth and cultural development. There are countless opportunities for thinking outside the box while growing your reputation as a worthwhile travel destination. That philosophy of innovation and teamwork is precisely why it was such a pleasure to chat with Beth and hear her insights.

Resources:

Episode Transcript

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