TDC reports record year, adds new beach community

Jeff Zehnder

Jeff Zehnder addresses diners at the Hilton on Tuesday.

Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM.

Walton County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Dawn Moliterno took the podium Tuesday at the TDC's annual luncheon and excitedly reported a record-breaking year in tourism by every measurement.

Bed tax revenues were the highest ever recorded with double-digit increases measured for 16 straight months and an estimated three million visitors last year, she said.

To help keep the beaches clean with so many people on them, eight solar-powered trash receptacles have been added.

Moliterno credited the new brand and marketing strategies revealed last year for the increases and reported the efforts were recognized with 17 national and regional industry awards this past year.

Moliterno said a major component of the brand evolution was the TDC's new website, which was introduced last October, and has resulted in a 57-percent increase in web traffic.

Even the turtles had a record season this year, with 115 nests found on South Walton beaches.

Even with apparent success in marketing South Walton, the TDC is moving its message to a new advertising agency. Charlotte, N.C.-based LKM, the TDC’s previous advertising firm, announced in May it would shutter its doors after 25 years in business.

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