States are turning to a range of new approaches to boost tourism, as they try to bounce back from the huge hit the industry took in the economic downturn last year.Efforts include programs focusing on small towns in Alabama and green destinations in Oklahoma, as well as online campaigns to replace marketing money lost to budget cuts.
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Among some other strategies being tried:
•Oklahoma. The state has started a green tourism effort highlighting destinations that represent environmental sustainability.
•Michigan. The state is turning to social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs to promote their must-see destinations after budget cuts slashed its travel marketing budget from $30 million last year to $5.4 million this year.
•Massachusetts. The state is featuring two new animated commercials this year, reusing some footage shot last year, which provide a river of images that flows from one Massachusetts attraction to another.
•North Dakota. The state has launched a Web-based “10 Ideas to Spring Into Spring” program touting everything from outdoor activities to museums. Each month the department will add new ideas and will update the program seasonally.