The Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor (YVHC) Partnership launches a mobile phone Web site promoting Surry, Wilkes, Yadkin and Caldwell counties. This is the latest initiative of the YVHC Partnership to build a comprehensive wayfinding program in the four-county region.

Users pointing their smartphone or tablet devices to will be directed to the mobile site that gives travel information about the Yadkin Valley. The site gives visitors access to information in six specific areas: agritourism, historical and cultural, outdoors and recreation, scenic byways, wineries, and visitor centers. The mobile site has a geolocation feature that enables GPS tracking of attractions.

“Technology plays an important part in travel planning,” says Helen Ruth Almond, project manager for the YVHC Partnership. “It’s like having a digital visitors’ guide in your hand.”

The mobile site is accessible from any Internet-capable phone or tablet and is optimized for smartphone functionality. As new map kiosks are installed in the region, QR codes (a two-dimensional bar code) will connect users to digital sources of visitor information through the mobile Web site.

“Ultimately, we want to help tourists navigate around town,” explains Leslie Schlender, economic development director for the Town of Elkin and chair of the YVHC Partnership. “Our goal is to improve directional signage and access to tourist information, and the mobile site is another layer of that goal.”

Recently, Surry and Wilkes counties, in close collaboration with the YVHC Partnership, were awarded $124,960 from the Federal Highway Administration Scenic Byways Program for the instillation of kiosks and directional signage in the region. A vehicular signage program is being developed by MERJE Design and the YVHC Partnership. The regional initiative also developed a regional brand identity, municipal banners, brochure maps, gateway signs, and online and print advertisements.

The YVHC Partnership was established to develop place-based economic development strategies for northwest North Carolina and to increase visitor spending in the four-county target area. Specifically, the Partnership is focused on increasing recreational infrastructure through the development of a multiuse trail system along the Yadkin River and tourism marketing infrastructure through a comprehensive and integrated wayfinding program.

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