Williamsburg organizes big deals to attract vacationers

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) – There are plenty of places a family could spend a little fun in the sun over the summer. But new leadership during a difficult year is producing big deals for tourists in Williamsburg.

The Greater Williamsburg Tourism Alliance noticed the numbers were down, and their plan to turn things around could mean great deals for you. They’ve gone to 48 local businesses to get them to cut you a break to bring in more business. Their goal isn’t just to attract more people from out of town, but to get those of us right here in Hampton Roads to take advantage of a year-round vacation destination in our backyard.

“I do think this is kind of the way many destinations are thinking about how we have to market now to tourists because they have so many options to go to, so many different places,” said Karen Riordan, President of the Greater Williamsburg Tourism Alliance.

Riordan said it’s been an unusual year for tourism, partly because of all the snow this past winter.

“One of the things that we looked at, and we’re still pulling data, we saw that because of school closings a lot of the children in Baltimore as far north as Massachusetts their kids were still in grammar school and middle school all the way until about June 27,” she said.

July’s full number’s aren’t in yet, but with so much riding on what’s traditionally been one of their busiest seasons, they quickly came up with a plan. Hotels, major attractions, retail stores and restaurants, like Berret’s Seafood and Taphouse Grill, are buying in.

“We have some very popular Thursday nights at our Tap House Grill, our outside grill, called ‘Steal the Pint Nights’ and people are really starting to come in for that,” said Jennifer Austin with the restaurant.

It’s all about finding new ways to get more people to visit one of America’s oldest cities.

“We’re all about Busch Gardens and Water Country,” said Mesaye Dama visiting from northern Virginia. “Also, we heard about the zoo.”

That’s just what tourism leaders in Williamsburg want to hear, especially this year. The parks themselves are doing quite well this year, but they’ve still agreed to go in on the deals along with everyone else.

“Substantial offerings, all designed to sort of motivate that Mom and Dad who’ve been thinking about it, but now maybe this will push them over the edge and say ‘Yeah, we wanted to go to Williamsburg. let’s do it in August before the kids go back to school’,” Riordan said.

Here are the specifics of 10 of the 48 deals in Williamsburg that are “All in For August:” Document: Top 10 All In For August offers

For the next 38 offers, check www.allinforaugust.com on or after August 1, when the website launches. The site will also have coupons you can redeem and details about some restrictions.

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