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Episode Info: Jim Walter has been in the Destination Marketing world for the past 16 years. He got his start leading Madison County Tourism in upstate NY for 10 years as its executive director. For the past six years, he has led the sales and marketing efforts for Visit Cheyenne in Wyoming. He is a former president of the New York Travel and Vacation Association and is currently the president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of PCMA. He enjoys creating memorable experiences that help grow the local economy through tourism. Jim is an avid backpacker, runner, hunter, and snowshoer and enjoys spending as much time in the mountains as possible, and seeing his daughter and friends. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and holds an M.S. in Service Management from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Jim is recognized as a Certified Destination Management Executive by Destinations International. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Jim Walter about how he meandered into destination marketing and the creative ways he continues to attract crowds to Cheyenne, Wyoming. What You Will Learn in This Episode: Some of the various meandering ways that people end up in the tourism industry, including Jim’s own story How Jim earned his title as a Certified Destination Management Executive The creative tactics and ideas Jim has employed in his various roles to compete in the tourism market Jim’s strategies to bridge the generational gap and get young people interested in the Old West culture of Cheyenne Some of the rich history of Cheyenne and Wyoming and how Jim and his colleagues use that to attract tourism and celebrate the destination Features of good “co-opetition” in the tourism industry and what matters most to the tourists you attract How Jim sees the travel marketing industry evolving and the best practices to keep up with this evolution Meandering Into Destination Marketing Jim Walter wanted to be a baseball broadcaster when he first entered college. During one of his summers he got to do just that, only to realize it wasn’t what he wanted. He worked in radio for a while until he got fired, which led him to take a job doing sales for the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce. Ever since then, Jim has worked in destination marketing and has loved every minute of it. Jim’s career has taken him from upstate New York to Cheyenne, Wyoming and taught him ways to be flexible and creative along the way. While working in Madison County, Jim experienced the advent of digital marketing and got the opportunity to improve the area’s hospitality industry in unique ways. He started “Mad Foods,” a food blog dedicated to telling the stories of cideries and farm-to-table restaurants in the county. This same creativity transferred over to his efforts for Cheyenne, where he decided to start wearing a cowboy hat, boots, and a buckle to conferences and networking events. He attracted attention and solidified the brand of Cheyenne as a real Old ...
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