BY DAVE BLANK
Racine County is experiencing a lot of change right now. New developments are being discussed and are beginning to pop up all over the county. With all of this, Racine County has been thrust into the limelight and is at the epi-center of the Southeastern Wisconsin technology corridor. People are taking notice. This is our time to shine and take advantage of the increased visibility of the county to a regional, national and international audience. Real Racine accepts this challenge and is actively promoting the county to various publics. Our mission is to “serve the community as a collaborative leader in the promotion and development of Racine County’s assets and quality of life.”
Every community must compete with every other community for their share of the world’s attention, customers and investment. To compete, people need to be aware of a community, have a positive impression and want to visit to experience the community and meet its people.
This is achieved through clearly developing, articulating and managing the community’s brand. The brand extends beyond municipal boundaries and includes such things as public and private attractions, lodging facilities, restaurants, retail districts, recreational corridors such as bike paths and water trails and transportation options. Effort must be made to promote, market, sell, and engage potential visitors. These efforts must be reinforced again and again.
Destination organizations, such as Real Racine, are uniquely positioned to do this. Real Racine is the only organization is Racine County that is qualified to manage the destination as a whole. We promote the assets that we currently have and advocate for the development of new facilities that will serve residents, as well as visitors and improve our quality of life. We work with elected officials, civic leaders, residents and local organizations to efficiently utilize their talents to present “the best of Racine County.”
Addressing this need for destination promotion is for the benefit and well-being of every person in a community. It is a common good. It is an essential investment to develop opportunities and build quality of life to benefit all the residents of a community.
Back in the “old days” we were “Convention and Visitor Bureaus” or “CVBs.” We were the place that you would write or call, to order a visitor guide before hitting the road on the family’s summer vacation. Over the last decade or so we’ve become “destination marketing organizations” or “DMOs.” Yes, we still print the visitor guide, (and will gladly send you one), but we also manage a very intricate web site, the destination’s social media presence, large events of all types and are part of discussions regarding the future of the area.
It’s a very exciting time to be in Racine County, and to be involved in its promotion and development to improve the quality of life for visitors, as well as our residents.