The Greater Milwaukee Convention Visitors Bureau Changes Name, Adopts New Logo
MILWAUKEE - (Jan. 20, 2005) - The Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) today announced it is changing its name to VISIT Milwaukee and adopting a new logo depicting the Santiago Calatrava-designed addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum. The formal unveiling of the new name and logo will take place at the VISIT Milwaukee Annual Meeting luncheon, Thursday, Feb. 17 at the Midwest Airlines Center.
"As the organization charged with marketing the image of Milwaukee to a worldwide audience of convention planners and potential visitors, VISIT Milwaukee and the new logo personify the evolution of the city," said Doug Neilson, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. "The new name in its simplicity sends a direct message and the logo with the Calatrava addition symbolizes the progressive 'rebirth' of our city as a major convention and visitor destination."
The new logo was inspired by a design created for the city and recently unveiled by the Spirit of Milwaukee organization, a VISIT Milwaukee strategic partner. The mark represents the "innovative, progessive, dynamic and expansive" vitality of the city, and the name, VISIT Milwaukee, follows a trend by convention and visitors bureaus nationwide to simplify and standardize the message to consumers worldwide.
The name VISIT Milwaukee and the logo change replaces the name Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau, the slogan, "Milwaukee - Genuine American City" and the accompanying circular logo, which was first introduced by the GMCVB in the summer of 1995.
"The phrase, ‘Genuine American City' (and logo) served us well," said Neilson. "During that period we made great strides in rebranding our city away from its 'rustbelt' image and the beginnings of the urban renaissance we're now enjoying. Now it's time to move our image up to the next level. We believe our new name and logo change allows us to maintain our unique and distinctive characteristics such as our brewing heritage, but also moves us forward in support of our new and exciting tourism attractions."
Tourism is a significant contributor to the economic well-being of the Milwaukee area. In 2003, approximately $2.4 billion in travel expenditures was attributed to the tourism industry in the greater Milwaukee area, which includes Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties. In the year 2003, the local tourism industry supported 62,485 full-time equivalent residents. Those employed in Milwaukee's tourism industry bring home more than $1.4 billion in income annually.
During 2003, traveler expenditures in the Greater Milwaukee area also led to the receipt of $267 million in state government revenues and $125 million in local government revenues. Tourism results for 2004 will be available in May.
County Executive Scott Walker said tourism plays an important role in the quality of life in the community and the new Milwaukee Art Museum icon will create an identifiable worldwide symbol for the entire area. "The economic impact of tourism benefits all Milwaukee County residents," he said. "When it comes to attracting visitors, we don't want to remain a well-kept secret. We have a lot to brag about. The name change and the logo will help launch this renewed effort to tell potential visitors to come and enjoy one of the most livable urban destinations in the country."
Milwaukee city officials see the name change and Milwaukee Art Museum-inspired logo as an opportunity to work together as a community to strengthen the city's brand image with potential visitors.
"Promoting Milwaukee takes a collaborative approach and I see that as an important part of my job," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "We're justifiably proud of our heritage and as a community we have great strengths to build on. The new name, VISIT Milwaukee and logo, an adaptation of the design created by the Spirit of Milwaukee, is something we can all embrace as we work together to market Milwaukee to the world. The words, ‘visit Milwaukee' is really a call to action."
The name change comes as Milwaukee is scheduled to enjoy its best convention year in history and play host to a number of high-profile gatherings, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. These conventions will give Milwaukee an opportunity to showcase its ethnic and cultural diversity to visitors from throughout the country.
Added Willies Hines, president of the Milwaukee Common Council and a VISIT Milwaukee board member, "The name change and the marketing direction of VISIT Milwaukee comes at a time when Milwaukee will take center stage with several prestigious conventions that will showcase our city," he said. ""There is no better time to change our name and logo as we move forward to change the world's perception of Milwaukee. The changes support our goal as a community to celebrate our diversity and promote Milwaukee to the rest of the world as a first-rate convention and tourism destination."
According to Maria Monreal-Cameron of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and
a VISIT Milwaukee board member, the timing of the identity change coincides perfectly with the message of "inclusiveness" being embraced and promoted throughout the community. "Milwaukee is a multicultural destination as demonstrated by the conventions we're attracting," she said. "Working together as a community we have charted a course in which ethnic and cultural diversity is celebrated and looked at as a strength. VISIT Milwaukee is an invitation for all people to come and enjoy what we have to offer."
VISIT Milwaukee and the new logo will transition throughout the year and serve as the unifying theme around all of the organization's sales, marketing and communications efforts.
"We're really recognized as a city that provides amenities important to visitors such as sports, arts, culture, festivals, attractions, dining, and hotels," said John Steinmiller, Milwaukee Bucks vice president and board chair of Visit Milwaukee. "Milwaukee consistently exceeds visitors' expectations and the new branding will help us effectively spread the word."
It takes more than a name change and logo to attract visitors, adds Neilson. "While the name change and the logo serves as a symbol of 'new Milwaukee,' that alone will not bring visitors here. A destination must have the attractions to support a robust tourism economy. We now have them and the time is right to share our story with the world."
The community has invested $1.5 billion in new tourism infrastructure since 1998 with an additional $1 billion scheduled to open in the next few years with such projects as The Milwaukee Public Market, Pier Wisconsin and culminating with the Harley-Davidson Museum.
"These attractions, combined with our other established urban destination attributes, will attract conventions and tourists to Milwaukee and that's the story we plan to aggressively tell," said Neilson.
Established in 1967, VISIT Milwaukee is the premier marketer of Greater Milwaukee. VISIT Milwaukee reaches tourists, convention and meeting planners nationally and internationally with sales, marketing and public relations programs. Tourism generated $2.5 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2003, which is 21 percent of the state's total tourism impact. VISIT Milwaukee has nearly 700 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Its main office is at 101 West Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 425, Milwaukee. It also has a sales office in Washington D.C. The Spirit of Milwaukee (SOM) and Potawatomi Bingo Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit http://www.visitmilwaukee.org.
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