By Amanda Stroud, S.C. Department of Natural Resources
Many of us and our respective agencies are great at partnership building. We work closely with our national partners, neighboring states, conservation groups and industry. These partnerships are vital bonds for us to meet the demands of our jobs.
As a prime example, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has had great success partnering with South Carolina’s state tourism office and its 11 regional tourism districts, the South Carolina Association of Tourism Regions (SCATR). Over the past several years, our agency has joined forces with these groups on large-scale fishing tournaments, nonresident angler marketing and outdoor recreation outreach.
Have these partnerships been effective? Have we accomplished what we set out to do? Has it all been worth it? First off, “Yes!” All the work done to formulate these partnerships has been well worth it — tenfold! Tourism directors have a wealth of marketing knowledge and often a budget in place to market around the country.
This year alone, we have partnered on two large-scale projects promoting fishing and outdoor recreation. To promote fishing, the SCDNR, South Carolina Tourism office and SCATR developed and jointly funded a six-page foldout that was included in the official South Carolina Visitors’ Guide. Distributed to more than 400,000 people, the foldout included information on fishing from the mountains to the ocean with links to a newly created landing page. The state tourism office provided the mechanism to print and distribute the guide. SCATR members provided local knowledge on fishing holes, and SCDNR ensured all the information was accurate. This allowed SCDNR to promote fresh- and saltwater fishing across the nation and internationally to well over one million people, something that would have been cost-prohibitive for SCDNR to do alone.
Additionally, South Carolina Wildlife (SCW) magazine has partnered with SCATR for the creation of our 2017-2018 SCW Calendar. The calendar will focus on the natural areas across our state, highlighting more than just the scenic mountains and beautiful shoreline. Through this cooperative project, the SCDNR is working with each region to take state residents and visitors on a scenic tour across all regions of the Palmetto State through eye-catching photography coupled with engaging articles and blogs.
The SCATR directors have lined up photo shoots for SCW staff or offered photographs available through the state tourism office for use in promotional items. And, moving forward, the SCDNR now has a local contact to assist us with future interviews and photography needs. To accompany the photos, blogs will be written, providing more details on the activity photographed, the region where it was taken and information on how to participate, along with links to the tourism regions, websites and social media.
The cost for this project has been minimal for the SCDNR, nothing outside of our normal operating budget, and it has even saved us some money.
This calendar year, for less than $7,500, the SCDNR has been successful in promoting fishing to more than one million people, made relationships with local users of natural resources, gained access to an incredible wealth of photography and will soon put the finishing touches on the most beautiful SCW calendar yet! All this was made possible through priceless partnerships. I am so excited to see what, together, we can do next year.