Jacksonville City officials survey community on tourism

POSTED: 7:52 PM Jan 30 2013   UPDATED: 7:52 PM Jan 30 2013
Jacksonville City officials survey community on tourism
JACKSONVILLE, NC -

Phyllis and Douglas Gaulden just moved to Jacksonville, and like what they see.

"It's in development, so that's a good thing," Phyllis said. "We see a lot of new business, we see a lot of good business coming up, so I know the unemployment rate will be looking a little better."

The City of Jacksonville is asking the community members the Gauldens for their feedback about tourism.

"We're asking them to fill out the community branding survey, let us know
what their impression is, what we lack, what we want to become, those types of things," said Glenn Hargett, assistant city manager.

This survey is now posted on the city's website at http://www.ci.jacksonville.nc.us/

Hargett says officials will meet in the next few months to review the results. He adds that the city is paying $100,000 to North Star, a company that specializes in highlighting the strengths and attractions that a community has, to help with the branding project.

That money comes from occupancy tax from visitors staying overnight in hotels.

"Jacksonville has a reputation, so does Greenville, so does New Bern," Hargett said. "We're trying to put ours into a couple of words, we're trying to make ourself known as what we are from the people who are a part of this."

Hargett says focus groups held in October revealed that the community
wants more attractions and destinations where their families can visit,
like the Freedom Fountain downtown.

Theresa Carter with Onslow County Tourism says marketing Jacksonville is a big part of her job. She, too, says it's important for the city to brand itself and keep growing.

"Visitors for all types of reasons so the more we can offer, the better
off we are," Carter said.