There’s Less of Virginia Tourism to Love

ATLANTA More than a dozen agencies attended a pre-proposal conference last week for Virginia’s tourism account, sources said. Despite a 40 percent cut in the advertising budget, the state-mandated review is even attracting agencies from nearby West Virginia.

Work, the incumbent agency in Richmond, Va., will not be among those pursuing the $2.8 million account. “We enjoyed a successful relationship with [the Virginia Tourism Corp.] for almost three years,” said Work chairman and chief executive officer Don Just, who noted that his shop helped the state increase visitorship 9 percent in 2001 and 17 percent in 2002.

“They are going into a maintenance mode, and that’s not what we’re interested in doing as a critical stage agency,” said Kristi Ashley, managing partner at Work.

The state’s strategic plans call for a shift from “Virginia is for lovers” radio and television messages to print ads in niche publications, according to sources.

Bids are due June 20. Finalists will present July 22-24, although sources said the state could choose an agency based on written proposals.