STEVENS POINT (WAOW)-- Leaders in Stevens Point are trying a new approach to bring tourists to the area. They're trying to convince out-of-towners that the city is a good vacation destination, but as they recently learned, they need to convince the area's resident's of that as well.
Some people eating lunch at the Wooden Chair in Stevens Point told Newsline 9 they'd definitely vacation in the city.
"I really think Stevens Point is becoming a destination city," said Charlotte Roberts. But some other people who live in the area don't agree.
"We've lived here all our lives and really enjoy being here, but I...I guess I don't think of it as a vacation spot,"Joni Baumhofer said.
"There's not an area that's specific for vacation but it does offer a lot of activities," Betty Birchler said.
That perception is something tourism officials are trying to change. "Locals don't see the Stevens Point/Portage County area as an attractive visitor destination," Sara Brish, the executive director of the Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau told Newsline 9.
The bureau hired a marketing firm to test the perception of the area among people who live there. They found there's a lot of work to be done. "We felt we needed to make changes to our marketing plan as we move forward as marketing Portage County as an attractive destination to visitors," Brish said.
That's why she and her staff are on a mission to re-brand the area by promoting its best traits.
"My husband, every time someone comes to town, he takes them to the Point Brewery to do the brewery tour," said Roberts.
"The university and what it offers," Birchler said.
Baumhofer pointed to the recreational opportunities in the county. "Just the outdoor activities. The parks and the river, the water."
Officials plan to launch an advertising campaign and social media blitz in the near future.
"When you love the place that you live in and you really understand everything that there is to offer, it just makes it an easy sale," Brish said.
But before she can sell the idea to vacationers, she'll be busy selling it to the people who live there.