New campaign promotes discovery on Whidbey and Camano Islands
— Created April 7, 2021 by Kathy Reed
By Kathy Reed
Spring has sprung and with it comes blossoming opportunities to discover all Whidbey and Camano Islands have to offer.
Discovery is the gist of the new digital and print guide, “Discover Your Islands,” put together by Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism. Print issues of the guide are arriving at select zip codes now and is currently available online at whidbeycamanoislands.com.
The guide urges local residents to find the abundance available while staying close to home.
“There are so many things to love about living in Island County,” said Sherrye Wyatt, public relations, marketing manager and film liaison with Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism. “With visitor numbers down, we hope locals continue to pick up the slack and help struggling lodgings, restaurants and shops who historically depend on tourism to thrive.
“When you explore our island communities instead of leaving Island County, you help lessen the spread of COVID-19,” she continued. “You’re also investing in a business owner who, just like you, is contributing to our local economy.”
The “Discover Your Islands” guide is the follow up publication to Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism’s successful “Home for the Holidays” guide.
“The campaign was very successful, in part because we tapped into a worldwide sentiment to shop local and stay close to home,” Wyatt said. “We found residents understood now more than ever, just how much we depend on each other.
“The response from business owners and local shoppers was really positive. Even some of those owners who were not actually listed in the first printed piece told us they benefitted enormously from the campaign and saw a boost in sales,” noted Wyatt. “Remember, this guide represents only a fraction of what Island County offers. We could not mention every business or activity. We will continue to populate our website. We have a very robust and vibrant website, so businesses are getting increased exposure in a unique way. Our Instagram and Facebook are both very active, too.”
The promotional effort has received the support of the Economic Development Council of Island County, which sees the value in keeping it local.
“Shopping locally directly benefits our businesses and strengthens our community,” said Sharon Sappington, executive director, EDCIC. “I am impressed with the strong partnership and collaboration demonstrated throughout [the guide’s] creation and the talents of all of those involved. The result is a reminder of the importance of shopping locally and a beautiful guide to the wide array of products, makers and businesses in our county.”
The campaign has gotten a boost from Island Transit as well, whose buses are sporting “Discover Your Islands” decals to help promote the project.
“During the pandemic it has become clear how interdependent we are on one another,” said Todd Morrow, Island Transit executive director. “Essential workers relied on Island Transit to get to their jobs, and we relied on them to keep area businesses, hospitals and essential services running. Participating in this shop local campaign is another way Island Transit can support our community.”
Wyatt said the new campaign offers everyone a chance to learn more about Island County with expanded stories about the area and by highlighting different experiences. Those interested can participate in the promoting Whidbey and Camano Islands, too.
“This campaign also has more ways for everyone to participate, including decals and window clings,” she said. “Many items in the guide were generated from local community members through an ‘island discoveries’ social media campaign. Our website also includes many new videos. Follow QR codes throughout the guide to find more information on our website. We really hope everyone will display a decal or window cling to show community support.”
“We believe the quality and variety of Island County products, producers and services is world class and a source of great pride in the community, which the guide so beautifully captures,” said Sappington. “The EDCIC is honored to be part of the partnership and collaboration that made this possible.”
The new publication features sections like “From Island Soil to Island Tables,” which highlights area farms and foods, including three new cideries, as well as U-pick opportunities at local farms. The “Hands at Work” section features information on how to view or get involved in the local arts community. “Active Island Lifestyle” has ideas perfect for planning an outing, excursion or a day of pampering.
“I hope residents are inspired to continue to ‘look local first’ for unique gifts and adventures that represent the islands, knowing every dollar spent here is invested back into our community,” Wyatt said. “Our neighbors really appreciate our business. I hope our retailers see the advantage of carrying more locally produced items in order to support local artisans, growers and makers. More local products on the shelves also creates a more authentic experience for both residents and visitors alike.”
See a digital version of “Discover Your Islands” online at whidbeycamanoislands.com.
“It feels great to be part of a project that is helping promote local businesses,” said Wyatt. “It is really important that locals continue to invest in our own community.”