Visitors Bureau awarded ‘Gold’ for 2012 promos

San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau Awarded was Gold for Excellence in Promotion.

The North American Travel Journalists Association awarded “Gold” to the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau for its October “Savor the San Juans” marketing campaign. The award, part of the journalists’ association national annual awards competition, was announced Jan. 30.

The category won was Social Media or Marketing Campaign – Marketing Budget Less than $400,000.

“With our marketing budget of less than $18,000 for our Savor the San Juans campaign, we feel very proud to have won this category,” said Deborah Hopkins Buchanan, director of the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau.

“We’ve learned to leverage our funds by partnering with other organizations, in this case Seattle Met magazine, to run very effective social media and marketing campaigns with the help of our marketing firm, The Communications Group,” Hopkins said.

Awards were given to publications, travel writers, photographers, convention and visitors bureaus, public relations agencies and destination marketing organizations whose work was represented in print and electronic media from October 2011 through September 2012.

The Visitors Bureau also announced that San Juan County lodging tax increased 15 percent in 2012 compared to previous. The Friday Harbor lodging tax increased 12 percent.

Regionally, San Juan County fared well in 2012, according to the latest report on state Department of Revenue’s website. Following San Juan County are Whatcom County, 11 percent, King County, 9 percent, and Grays Harbor County, at 8 percent. The Visitors Bureau is largely supported by lodging taxes, under contract with the county.

The San Juan Islands were featured location in the 2013 Eddie Bauer spring catalog. The Visitors Bureau, as the official county film liaison, helped with permitting and location scouting.