Southeast Fairfax County has an official tourism brand: Potomac Banks
Fairfax County officials and representatives of tourist attractions around Southeast Fairfax County gathered on the East Lawn of George Washington’s Mount Vernon May 18 to unveil and celebrate the region’s new tourism brand — Potomac Banks: Explore Fairfax South.
The brand launch was the culmination of a multi-year destination development assessment by the Mount Vernon Tourism Task Force, a group spearheaded by Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck in collaboration with Visit Fairfax. The task force, which has expanded since its founding in 2019 to include over 20 historic sites, museums, parks, gardens, cultural venues and other attractions, was formed to enable member sites to share stories, form collaborative relationships and brainstorm ways to increase awareness of the region’s unique tourism appeal.
For Storck, South County’s history is “one of the most essential parts” of the area. He believes the sheer number and diversity of attractions distinguish it from other destinations.
“We have more historical and natural sites in this area … than anywhere else in the country except for potentially the [National] Mall itself,” he said.
Storck shared how task force members — fresh off working with a consultant on a marketing assessment and plan — had to put the kibosh on its implementation in early 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite two years of difficult times and crushing losses for the travel and tourism industry, task force members spent the time connecting and collaborating in virtual ways and trying to “elevate and accelerate plans on how to move the community forward,” said Storck.
Helping the county’s tourism industry recover from two years of pandemic losses is just one goal of the branding initiative, according to Visit Fairfax President and CEO Barry Biggar. The other goal is to grow visitation beyond pre-pandemic levels.
“Now the real work begins,” said Biggar. “We will … double the visitation to this spectacular area within the next five years. That is a goal we have set; that is a goal we will meet."
To incentivize Fairfax County visitors and residents to take advantage of South County’s offerings, Biggar announced the availability of a special Potomac Banks Savings Pass, which provides discounted admissions to Potomac Banks partner sites, as well as discounts on tours, gifts and activities. Over the coming year, Potomac Banks partners will continue exploring opportunities for cross-promotion, co-branding, tourism packages, themed itineraries and trails, and community events.
Local businesses in the hospitality industry that are interested in joining the savings pass program are encouraged to contact Alex Kramer or Camela Speer with Supervisor Storck’s office.