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E-Gov: Best Practices


Tourism sites overall are probably the most sophisticated in using advanced techniques in imaging, sound and video. Many also provide search engines and/or links allowing prospective visitors to look for lodging and other attractions.  Some states limit their content to information on their history and public attractions, avoiding commercial promotion of lodging, restaurants or other privately owned ventures. Most states, however, allow either directories of privately-owned visitor services or links to online reservation services, thus providing a true one-stop travel service. With the expansion of broadband networks and faster modems allowing much more common use of audio, video and animation, additional multi-media features are likely to be increasingly adapted by state tourism Webs. While most of the state sites are similar, below are a few of the better examples.

Virginia-Visit Virginia
The official Virginia tourism site, "Visit Virginia", is a model site combining a full range of information resources with substantial promotion of lodging and other commercial services. The site features excellent search engines for attractions, lodging, dining and shopping, including an easy-to-use online reservations service incorporated into the official state site along with travel packages and special deals and discounts. The Virginia Trip Planner  lets prospective visitors create their own travel brochures with information about the attractions or resources of special interest. International visitors are offered brief welcomes translated into Spanish, French, German, Italian , Dutch and Japanese.  are  agents are solicited

One of the more unusual services on, the official Maryland tourism site, is a special page for Travel Professionals, with information including attractions that open their doors to groups; packaged tours; event and convention planning. Also check the customizable trip planner feature for creation of personalized travel brochures with an overview and planned itinerary of a visitor's activities that also can be e-mailed to friends or relatives. Other features include videos of history and attractions, Maryland Trip Ideas with suggested three-day tours of nine different regions with maps and descriptions of "sights to see" included in each itinerary. Also offers links to reservation services operated independently by  The Restaurant Association of Maryland and Maryland Hotel and Lodging Association

I Love New York
New York's acclaimed "I Love New York" tourism promotion campaign also has an excellent online presence. Easy-to-use search engines are linked to comprehensive databases of attractions and lodging, with a connection to an outside lodging reservation service provided by the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association. New York also publishes online copies of its print brochures for international visitors in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese.

Visit Alaska
Alaska's excellent tourism page, Visit Alaska, allows surfers to send a digital post card after selecting an appropriate Alaska scene and inserting a personal message.

Minnesota-Explore Minnesota
Explore Minnesota encourages visitors to sign up for a series of Minnesota-e-Mail Newsletters, including updates on travel ideas, with links to complete articles online; a weekly update on special offers, deals and last-minute lodging vacancies; a weekly update on where fish are biting and how to catch them; and a weekly report on bird sightings statewide. Minnesota also encourages prospective tourists to sign up online for travel counselors providing custom advice on attractions and lodging options.