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Visitors Bureau to collect billboard donations Wednesday at Foothills Bank
YUMA, ARIZONA – When a couple of writers from Phoenix trashed Yuma as a "armpit" not worth a stop in an online "review" recently, Yumans didn't take it lying down.
Hundreds of positive comments were posted to the website, Yuma's state representative Lynne Pancrazi appeared on Phoenix TV to defend her hometown as a "gem of the desert" and the Yuma Visitors Bureau launched a marketing effort to promote Yuma as "The It City" – a term the reviewers used scornfully – on billboards in Phoenix and elsewhere.
Now the Phoenix New Times has added insult to injury by publishing its online review in its March 23 print edition – so YVB will step up its "Rock IT City" campaign, taking it to the streets with a "ride-thru rally" from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at Foothills Bank, 2285 S. 4th Ave.
"The silver lining to this unfair attack on Yuma is that it's gotten folks stirred up and they're standing up to say that they're proud of their town," said Kristan Sheppeard, YVB's director of agritourism, sales and marketing. "That's great, and we want to channel that energy in a positive way.
"The ride-thru is an easy way for folks to participate without even getting out of the car -- just roll on through and show you're standing up for Yuma," Sheppeard added.
The tangible evidence of Yuma pride will be a billboard in downtown Phoenix, along with two more being donated by Del Outdoor to show its support of Yuma's efforts – one on I-8 coming into Yuma from San Diego and another on way from Phoenix to the White Mountains. North End Studios of Yuma donated the billboard design.
"The message is basically, 'Phoenix blog hails Yuma as "The It City". Come see why. www.visityuma.com,' " Sheppeard said. "We're just turning it around to be positive."
Still to come, Sheppeard said, YVB will set some special dates for people to show their support for businesses singled out in the negative review by shopping or dining there. For updates on this, folks can "like" Yuma Visitors Bureau on Facebook or follow @YumaArizona on Twitter.
Yuma Visitors Bureau markets the Yuma area within the travel and tourism industry and to the general public. The nonprofit is funded in part by City of Yuma hospitality tax revenues. Direct travel spending in Yuma County totaled more than $577 million in 2009 and supported nearly 6,000 jobs. Travel spending in the county also generated more than $36 million in state and local taxes.
Media contact: Ann Walker, 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitor Information Center: 1-800-293-0071
The Yuma Visitors Bureau is always happy to assist members of print, digital and broadcast media, either on assignment or pitching an idea with a Yuma angle.
Media Relations Specialist Ann Walker can suggest itineraries and facilitate visits, or provide you with the inspired details to help nail down an assignment. We pride ourselves on always going "above and beyond."
You can download background and "anytime" materials below; dated press releases appear "most recent first" at left. Call or email us for photos and B-roll video.
YVB periodically hosts group and individual press trips, and is glad to partner with other Arizona or California DMOs to coordinate a visit to several regions.
For more information, contact Ann Walker at 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell) or email email@example.com. Thanks for your interest in the Yuma area.