"Friendliness" Ranked As Top Hancock County Draw For Visitors

More than three million people take part in tourists related activities in Hancock County every year. Some of them are now taking part in a study which will help researchers develop a tourists' profile.

It asks tourists to rank the attractions and the experience they had while in town.

"So far in this study the friendliness of the people that they encounter while they are visiting Hancock County is ranked the highest of their experiences. The general population of Hancock County is selling Hancock County quite well to visitors," Tourism Bureau Executive Director Beth Carriere said.

The final results from the study will be used by the Tourism Bureau to formulate a new marketing plan.

"Hopefully the study will show us a lot of things that we need to do that we're not doing," Carriere said.

For instance, Carriere says right now the Bureau spends most of its advertising dollars marketing the County within a 300 mile radius of the area. But the research shows that extending that out to a 750 mile radius would be effective.

"Another item that came up was after the visitor comes here, they are telling us repeatedly that their experience far exceeded their expectations. That answers the question of  why more than 75 percent of the visitors come back... sometimes up to nine trips a year," Carriere added.

She says the fact that tourists are having a better time than they thought they would indicates a stronger marketing campaign may be needed. That way visitors can come to Hancock County expecting to have a great time.

The final results from the study are expected to be ready by the end of this summer.

by Al Showers