When it comes to today’s unpredictable economy, the old adage, “united we stand, divided we fall,” takes on significant meaning for the North Coast’s tourism-based businesses.

Four chambers of commerce – Astoria-Warrenton, Seaside, and Cannon Beach – have combined forces to encourage visitors to experience the area as a whole.

Along with Portland television station KGW-8 and Portland radio station KINK FM, they have created dream vacation packages that highlight the best the area has to offer.

“This is a unique opportunity for people to not limit themselves to one town per stay,” said Jon Rahl, director of tourism marketing for the Seaside Visitor’s Bureau.

“The visitor sees no boundaries, and every community gets encompassed in their trip.”

Dubbed “The People’s Coast,” the promotion links the four cities and their numerous recreational opportunities.

Rahl, who has spearheaded the branding effort, is excited to show potential visitors what the area has to offer as a whole.

“Each community has something they are associated with,” Rahl said. “Astoria and Warrenton have history, Seaside has adventure and Cannon Beach has romance. There’s something for everyone to experience.”

A tagline for the campaign gives people a broader view of the North Coast: “Come on, let’s go play! Four cities, 30 miles, a world of discovery.”

That inclusiveness appeals to community organizers.

“This campaign highlights different elements of each community,” said Eric Johnson, executive director of the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce. “It allows each community to interact positively with one another.”

To feature the wide diversity of the area’s recreational offerings, the campaign has created four separate vacation packages.

A history and adventure package centers on Astoria and Warrenton, featuring two nights’ lodging at Astoria’s Cannery Pier Hotel, and activities such as horseback riding in Cannon Beach and zip lining in Warrenton. The prize’s value is $1,415.

The family fun package has two nights stay at the Best Western Ocean View Lodge in Seaside and features such activities as paragliding on the beach in Seaside and tide pool excursions in Cannon Beach. This packages’ value is $1,220.

The romance package features two nights’ stay at the Ocean Lodge in Cannon Beach. Extras include bike rentals in Seaside and couple’s massage in Astoria. The value is $1,000.

Finally, participants can create their own dream package. It is a chance for people to design their perfect getaway. It features two nights’ lodging in one city, two dinners in two different cities, two lunches in two different cities and two attractions/activities in two different cities. The package has a prize value of $1,200.

“Each community chipped in with a hotel stay and multiple recreation and dining options with each package,” Rahl said.

The promotional ads on KGW and KINK began running regularly in mid-March and will continue through Sunday, April 14.

The contest deadline is 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 14.

“It’s a cool thing that all these entities are joining forces,” Rahl said. “By adding radio and television to hotel sponsorships, it brought the campaign to a whole new level.”

The idea for the contest was built from the success of the 2012 photo contest held jointly by the Seaside Visitor’s Bureau and the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce became involved after seeing the results of that campaign.

“We saw how successful that branding was in Astoria and Seaside,” Johnson said. “The chamber and the tourism and arts commission saw how important this could be to the community in terms of exposure. We are very excited to be a part of this.”

Each city contributed $20,000 to the promotional effort.

Response to the campaign has been so positive from community members that organizers are hopeful of running it annually.

“We will wait until the whole campaign is over and go over all the numbers,” Rahl said. “But we’d like to start planning for next year. It’s something we’d like to budget for again.”

There is certainly reason for optimism. Through the first 48 hours of the contest, there were 916 entries.

“Those came in the first two days and an email blast from both KINK and KGW had yet to be sent,” Rahl said.

Besides the obvious ability of the promotion to entice visitors to the North Coast, it has instilled an expanded sense of community.

“There’s no reason not to work together and get rid of the notion of a north/south county line,” Johnson said. “I hear the spots on the radio or see them on television, and I feel a great sense of pride in my town and the entire area. What a thing to be a part of.”

To view contest details and enter to win, log onto http://special.kgw.com/oregonsnorthcoast/


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