Winslow to Petrified Forest slated to become tourist destination

Arizona Office of Tourism awarded $1.4 million in matching grants to rural and metropolitan tourism organizations in Arizona for the 2007 fiscal year. The Winslow Chamber of Commerce, under the I-40 Corridor Economic Development Working Group, received a portion of this funding to promote tourism between Winslow, Holbrook and Petrified National Forest.

The Northeast I-40 Corridor district (Holbrook Chamber of Commerce, Winslow Chamber of Commerce, Petrified Forest Museum Association, Petrified Forest National Park, city of Holbrook and the city of Winslow) received $23,377.

White Mountains Partnership received $130,000 (Pinetop Lakeside, city of Show Low, White Mountain Apache Tribe, Navajo County, town of Snowflake, town of Taylor, St Johns Chamber of Commerce, Heber Overgaard Chamber of Commerce). Two organizations, the Prescott Area Coalition for Tourism and the White Mountain Partnership, received the largest award of $130,000 each.

Teamwork for Effective Arizona Marketing grants under the AOT, is a program that enables communities and organizations throughout Arizona to promote regional tourism. TEAM grants go to fund advertising, public relations campaigns, research and strategic planning and other tourism-related marketing.

Chamber of Commerce Director Bob Hall was excited about receiving this TEAM grant to promote the Winslow area, but he said he is even more optimistic about collaborating with neighboring communities to enhance everyone's success.

"The bigger news is not the amount, but that we have partnered with other entities in our region and it has paid-off," Hall said. "We are going to draw more attention by succeeding to draw another grant with our partnership than if we were just doing this by ourselves."

Communities in regional partnerships pooled their resources to market themselves as a region to increase the amount of funding they are eligible for and to offer tourists a regional perspective of their destination. A total of 10 regional partnerships applied for TEAM Grant funding. The grants were awarded to communities, regional tourism partnerships, tribal entities and statewide associations that meet the program requirements and are able to match the requested funds.

The idea is that tourists would choose the area along I-40 and the Little Colorado River as a vacation destination where two days could be spent around Winslow, two days around Holbrook, and one day at the Petrified National Forest.

Hall said they have been putting together a five-day itinerary of things to do for the two-day Winslow portion of the proposed vacation plan. La Posada, Old Trails Museum, Homolovi, Clear Creek, Standing on the Corner and the 9-11 Memorial Park, are some of the attractions Hall mentioned that would be in the itinerary.

"This marketing will be used to promote Winslow as a year-wide destination to statewide markets and those in neighboring states," Hall said. "This will allow them an chance to experience our historical and cultural heritage, as well as our outdoor and recreational opportunities."

Hall said Winslow is scheduled to advertise in AAA Arizona Highroads, Sunset, True West, and in other travel guides and with travel agencies. A regional website will also be created for the three groups.

"Each year, the TEAM grant program makes it possible for Arizona's communities and tribes to flourish and creates a direct link between the tourism industry and the State's economy," said Governor Napolitano in an announcement. "The tourism industry has a profound impact on the lives of every Arizonan, and grant programs such as this provide communities and tribes the financial support and marketing expertise to attract visitors from around the world to the Grand Canyon State."

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