At an annual tourism forum Tuesday hosted by hosted by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, some of the area’s tourism related businesses shared their new marketing strategies and offered some sneak peeks at new events and attractions
This year, highlights included a sharp focus on attracting Generation X parents with children, new collaborations and partnerships, diversification and increasing the focus on social media and smart phone applications.
2011 will see one new ride at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. There will also be new shows, as well as a revamped Oktoberfest area at Busch Gardens.
Mach Tower, the new drop ride to be located in Oktoberfest, will lift riders nearly 240 feet, rotate them a few times, then drop them at breath-taking speed to the ground.
Oktoberfest has been overhauled, with gourmet pretzels, a beer garden and more performers outside the traditional Festhaus location. Some of the new performers were on hand to sing, dance and play for the audience Tuesday, even taking time out to grab some good-natured participants to dance the polka in the aisles.
Vanish Point, a similarly thrilling new water ride at Water Country, is a new drop slide that is completely unique to the area.
Also part of their effort to rejuvenate the parks are some new kids’ shows at Busch Gardens, which will include visits from Hip Hop Harry and Yo Gabba Gabba’s DJ Lance for the younger kids and an extended Ramp Jam skateboarding program for older kids.
Christmas Town and Howl O Scream will also have some new surprises. Details will be revealed later in the year.
“Live After Five” is a new program that aims to offer visitors something to do in the evenings, with dining and entertainment planned around the historic area through the summer. Chownings Tavern will also open as a Beer Garden in the evenings. Visitors will find out that when the lights go down in Williamsburg, it won’t go dark.
Colonial Williamsburg is also working on attracting more families with children. As part of that initiative, CW has created “REVQUEST,” a history scavenger hunt for kids ages 8 to 12 that begins online and ends in the historic area. The historic area will also see more junior interpreters to engage kids.
Colonial Williamsburg is aiming to extend its partnership with the Virginia Arts Festival, and will continue to promote the new Historic Triangle Ticket and Bounce Ticket, which gets visitors to multiple attractions with one ticket.