Civil War Trails


The Civil War is an enormous and complex topic, and building tourism around it is both highly lucrative and extremely challenging. When eight destination marketing organizations surrounding Gettysburg, Pennsylvania decided to join together and create a Civil War Trails program, they needed to determine how to integrate widely divergent marketing strategies and target audiences into a coherent approach. In cooperation with the Pennsylvania State Tourism Office, the partnership of visitor bureaus retained Wendt Partners to develop a comprehensive and thoroughly researched marketing strategy for the deployment of a Civil War Trails program in the region.

Wendt Partners developed an asset inventory, researched the history not only of the Civil War but of related themes up through the Civil Rights era, and established a definitive series of ‘best practices’ for the program based upon successful cultural and heritage tourism strategies in similar jurisdictions across the nation. As a result, the strategic plan successfully provided comprehensive and specific details to guide the member agencies in everything from developing an advertising buy to implementing signage, and from geographic trail planning to the selection of tourism partners. The plan also provided ample flexibility and made recommendations for program governance and management that fully incorporated and addressed the unique tourism development needs of each community in the partnership.

The Civil War Trails strategic plan developed by Wendt Partners created a framework that provided sound guidance for all of the participating organizations. “I can’t imagine a more challenging task in tourism asset development than trying to create a workable strategic plan for Civil War tourism in a region that borders the Mason-Dixon Line and consists of destinations as diverse as Gettysburg, Hershey Park and the Lancaster Dutch Country,” said Chris Barrett, President of the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Wendt Partners provided research, recommendations and a thorough and practical plan that balanced historical and cultural sensitivities with the ‘on-the-ground’ realities of tourism business development. And they were personally involved and engaged in the effort every step of the way.


Economic Development, Nonprofit, Tourism


Strategic Consulting, Branding & Messaging, Integrated Communications

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They provided us with research, recommendations and a thorough and practical plan. And they were personally involved and engaged in the effort every step of the way.
Christopher Barrett, President & CEO, Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau

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