Helena – One day, many ideas

When I was looking for suggestions for better promoting my city’s tourism brand, my host offered me a trip to Helena, the Capitol of Montana State. He helped me organize a meeting with Pam Haxby Cote who is the Director of Office of Tourism and Business Development, Department of Commerce in Montana State. It was really interesting to hear the way Montana has marketed its tourism. More interestingly, listening to the story of promoting tourism in Montana helped me came up with an idea to deal with seasonality of my hometown’s tourism. By trying to answer the question what can you offer to visitors during rainy season, we both agreed that promoting local speciality featured by rainy season is a good way to attract food lovers coming to Da Nang during this period. Promoting solo travel and offering colorful umbrellas with Da Nang images or business logos on it are other ideas. These ideas are definitely better than just offering off-season discount and without this inspiring talk, I could not be able to think of them.

With my host, Brit Fontenot, the Economic Development Director of Bozeman, at Montana State Capitol

Ken Fichtler who is the Chief business development officer and the Director of the Office of Economic Development helped me to understand how Montana has supported its businesses. Effective policies such as a workforce development program, a low cost tax environment with no sale tax and very low business income tax has contributed significantly to help Montana has the highest rate of entrepreneurship. Should Da Nang, my hometown, do the same thing is what I am considering.

Sean Becker who is not only the administrator of the Office of Tourism and Business Development in Montana but also the former Mayor of Bozeman city is another person that I should not forget to mention. He also helped me to understand how the state is helping enterprises. And what surprised me is that he started as a pizza guy at Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park where I just visited last week. His saying: “You can not choose where you come from but you can choose where you end up” left a strong impression in me.

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