Virginia still loves lovers. But it's facing stiff competition: Maryland and the District also are romancing tourists.
Virginia has brought back its 1969 slogan "Virginia is for Lovers" and a new saying: "Virginia. It's a New World." The fancier, more upbeat lettering is aimed at marketing the state as boldly contemporary.
The $2.85 million campaign uses radio, TV and print and, according to the state's Department of Tourism, is worth its cost.
Tourism contributed $5.4 billion to the state economy last year. That was up 8.1 percent from 1984. As Virginia's second-largest industry, it brought 22 million travelers and created 122,000 jobs in 1984. Last year, the number of jobs hit 130,000.
"We expect a very strong year," said Martha Steger of the Department of Tourism, "The increased revenue is a good sign. We surpassed the region's averages. We consider New York and Tennessee, who are spending much more, our major competitors . . . . "
But Virginia has closer competitors: Maryland and the District.
Maryland contracted Richardson, Meyer & Donofrio for $12 million over the next three years. The agency fired out a new concept: "Maryland: more than you can imagine."
The state set $1.1 million as the limit on publicity, according to Frank Kelly of the Maryland Office of Tourist Development. More than 21,000 additional tourists are considering Maryland this year, he said, citing a greater number of inquries. Tourism created 84,000 jobs in 1984 and added $3.8 billion to the economy. The number is expected to increase by 17 percent this year.
Luring visitors to the District, however, requires a different tact. Washington had 17.9 million visitors last year; 1 million were foreign.
"A lot of attention is paid to the glossy television advertising of Maryland and Virginia," said Tom Collier, marketing director at the D.C. Committee to Promote Washington. "The District is in a class by itself. Even if we didn't spend a penny on advertising, people would visit the capital city."
The District is promoting "more than monuments and marble" and is targeting the senior citizen market with the "Golden Washingtonian Club." The club gives senior citizens discounts at restaurants and retail outlets.
The city's budget for tourism and conventions is $2.5 million and could bring more than $1.5 billion, said a spokesman for the Washington Visitors and Convention Center.
Systems and Applied Sciences Corp. of Vienna received a $20 million contract to develop and maintain business and administrative computer systems for the General Services Administration.
Under the three-year contract, SASC will service nine Department of Defense installations and 50 nondefense federal agencies in GSA region 8 (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado). The contract was administered by GSA's Information Management Services.
In January, the company received its first major GSA contract for $53 million to provide the same services in GSA region 5.
The District public relations firm of Held & Petrou merged with the public relations department of Eisner & Associates Inc. of Baltimore to form Eisner, Held and Petrou Inc.
Steve C. Eisner, president of the $42 million parent firm, is the major shareholder and president of the new firm. Jeri B. Held and David M. Petrou are senior vice presidents.
Both Held and Petrou have worked for Abramson Associates Inc. in the District, Held as director of public relations and Petrou as senior public relations executive.
Second National Building and Loan Inc. of Maryland acquired Greenwood Building and Loan Association of Greenwood, Del., after the Federal Home Loan Bank Board approved the acquisition last week.
Greenwood had $1.5 million in assets. The acquisition involved no cash or securities. The local advisory board will be retained.
Greenwood becomes Second National's 19th branch office and its fourth branch office in Delaware. Second National, a federally insured institution, opened its first Delaware branch in 1984 and since has acquired more than $83 million in deposits.