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WASTE WATCH: Okaloosa County Christmas Campaign
OKALOOSA COUNTY --
The Emerald Coast isn't a big holiday destination.
Hotels and condos in Okaloosa County have had less than thirty percent occupancy for the last three December.
The Tourism Department is investing in a Christmas ad campaign to bring in more visitors.
Laura Hussey "We're at Clemenza's in Uptown Station and I'm getting a cooking class from chef Mike Laws. We've got mushrooms...and you're going to do croutons? This isn't my private experience. There are going to be a lot of cooking demonstrations and activities going on for everybody come December"
The print ads for "A Very Emerald Christmas" say it all. A hundred percent chance of a White Christmas.
Martin Owen/Resortquest "If we can persuade people that the weather's great, that there's plenty to do down here, then it's good news" Martin Owen of Resortquest, and dozens of others with a stake in the tourist business, came to the launch of "A Very Emerald Christmas" to hear what's in it for them.
Tom Rice/Magnolia Grill "This is the time of year when a lot of us swallow hard, because you don't know when the next customers are coming"
Tom Rice of the Magnolia Grill was on the committee that picked New Orleans Advertising Agency Peter Mayer to work for the Tourism Department.
He says their ideas for luring holiday visitors were a big factor.
Tom Rice "A lot of activities go on here during the season and let's celebrate them"
The campaign promotes activities like cooking demonstrations and concerts.
It pushes business to hotels and restaurants through a special website.
The 153,000 dollar media program includes print, online, satellite radio, and digital outdoor boards.
Owen says it's needed you can't expect people to come if you don't tell them what's going on.
Martin Owen "We're the biggest secret not only in the USA, but the biggest tourism secret probably in the world, is this area. And the out of season time is the biggest secret of that secret"
Laura Hussey "You may see these little brochures around town. There's an activity calendar inside, and even more activities on the website, averyemeraldchristmas.com.
You can find more stories about government spending and send us your ideas at weartv.com under Waste Watch.