Visit Oxford Named Tourism Office of the Year by Southeast Tourism Society

Published 11:21 am Monday, September 12, 2022

Visit Oxford received the Tourism Office of the Year award at Southeast Tourism Society’s Shining Example Awards, held last week in Concord, NC during the STS Connections Conference. The program highlights exemplary work being done in the travel and tourism industry throughout the Southeast with 11 award categories. Visit Oxford received one of the most coveted Shining Example awards of the night, given to the tourism entity based on overall performance of the organization and accomplishments made through effective tourism marketing.

The award was judged based on efforts during the time period of Nov. 2020 through Dec. 2021. During that time period, Visit Oxford was able to show how their staff worked to mitigate losses due to declining travel impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the ever-changing regulations of the pandemic, the office of only four full-time employees found creative ways to support the local hospitality industry and economy. At the heart of their efforts was finding health-minded tactics to engage visitors while promoting restaurants, retailers, hotel partners to all that call Oxford their home.

“I see the talent each day, so I knew that our hard-working staff deserved this recognition, but I was honored that out of such a sizeable 14-state area, our office was recognized as a Shining Example in our trade for what we are doing in Oxford,” said Kinney Ferris, Executive Director of Visit Oxford.

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Using multi-faceted marketing tactics, Visit Oxford saw record growth from out-of-state markets based on their website analytics. The team also relied on their engaging social media content to keep locals and visitors aware of everything happening in Oxford. The economic impact of these efforts was seen in total travel and tourism expenditures, as well as taxes collected during 2021. Both were up nearly 19% over the same time period in 2020 and almost identical to the record-breaking numbers set in 2019.

“Locals rarely see the majority of the work done by the staff at Visit Oxford because the work is all part of a strategically focused plan to attract potential visitors through various marketing tactics,” said Ferris. “While we do host events through our office, the majority of what we do is promoting and advertising all the wonderful things Oxford has to offer to people outside of our area.”

Visit Oxford was one of sixteen award winners of the night. The Shining Example Awards Program, an industry fixture since 1985, recognizes outstanding contributions to travel and tourism within the Southeast United States.

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill said, “I am thrilled that others are recognizing what we already know in Oxford -Visit Oxford is the most creative, talented, professional tourism agency in the Southeast. Kinney and her team tell Oxford’s story well, impacting our overall economy and affecting our community positively every day. We are so proud of this accomplishment!”

The Southeast Tourism Society is a not-for-profit membership association dedicated to the development of travel and tourism professionals and organizations within the southeast region.

STS’ mission is to empower a diverse network of tourism professionals through Education, Advocacy, Recognition, and Networking.

Visit Oxford is the marketing organization for the City of Oxford whose purpose is to bring visitors to Oxford for the economic benefit of the community.