(WTNH) — Now is not the time to visit Ithaca, NY. Don’t believe us? Take it from visitithaca.com — the region’s official tourism website.
This week, the website for the Ithaca-Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau is covered by a pop-up ad encouraging you to visit the Florida Keys.
“We surrender. You win, winter,” reads the message on the homepage. “Due to this ridiculously stupid winter, Ithaca invites you to visit The Florida Keys this week. Please come back when things thaw out.”
Tourism bureau director Bruce Stoff tells the Ithaca Journal, “We’re saying that we’re done with cold and snow. This is a way for us to stay engaged with our customers at a time when Upstate New York isn’t exactly top of mind.”
In other words, Ithaca — a lovely little city at the bottom of Cayuga Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, and home to Cornell University and Ithaca College — is marketing itself by telling people not to visit. At least, not to visit right now.
And it’s working. Stoff says clicks on the tourism website are up about ten times over the 1,500 daily hits a day it usually gets in February. And while the city is actually in the midst of a teacher-themed tourism program right now, the hope is that this unique marketing approach will pay off later and bring people to town when Ithaca is Gorges, as the city’s famous motto states.