Boom or Bust bets on historical assets

A new tourism marketing initiative in northern Nevada capitalizes on its historical assets. But the campaign also relies on modern-day technology.

A driving guide, "Boom or Bust," tells the story of early-day settlement in the region. It takes visitors to Virginia City, Nevada's oldest thirst parlor in Genoa and museums such as the Nevada Historical Society in Reno and the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.

It's the first of a planned series of five guides, says Mary Ann McAuliffe, arts and culture manager for the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. RSCVA is creating the program in partnership wit the Reno-Tahoe Territory of the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

Next up, McAuliffe said, will be a guide to the region's past as a glittering entertainment mecca. That's scheduled for completion in 2007.

Other tours in the series will cover the region's ghost trail a tour of historic cemeteries as well as its native cultures and its historic trails and railways.

The guides, McAuliffe said, mark an effort to tap into the fast-growing group of folks who travel to learn more about history or culture.

The Travel Industry Association of America say 81 percent of travelers who ventured more than 50 miles from home last year can be considered cultural and heritage tourists. And they spend more, stay longer, and are younger, wealthier and more technologically savvy than travelers a decade ago.

The "technologically savvy" description of cultural and heritage tourists plays a role in the plan for distribution of the self-guided driving tours.

To be sure, the RSCVA and other tourism agencies will be handing out the guides at visitors centers and taking them to tourism conferences around the country.

The guides also are available through the RSCVA Web site (www.visitrenotahoe.com/heritage) but only to travelers who provide their name and e-mail address.

That information, McAuliffe said, will begin to create a marketing database for future history-oriented tourism initiatives and also allows the tourism agency to better track demand for the guides.

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