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NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — The greater Wilmington area was branded as the Cape Fear Coast in the late 1980’s and eventually became the Wilmington Cape Fear Coast, but now that name is being left behind and the region is moving forward with the name Wilmington N.C. Historic River District & Island Beaches.

“A lot of people from the interior of the state, when they think about coming down to the coast, especially the North Carolina coast they think about Wilmington,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said. “So tying that into the overall campaign with the island beaches and then identifying the assets of those island beaches which are totally different and unique in themselves, I think was a great marketing strategy.”

The advertising campaign approved is called “The Voice of the Water.”

The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority put $25,000 into the project, which is fully funded by the room occupancy tax.

One of the main goals of the new campaign is to showcase the water and the beach towns. That is something beach officials say the last brand did not do.

“We just wanted to make sure that we weren’t being lost,” Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti said. “As an example, if you Google Cape Fear Coast then you would come up with beaches outside of New Hanover County. So we wanted to make sure we were targeting are own beaches and I believe the branding agency has addressed that.”

In a study polling out of town residents by the Brandon Agency, 67 percent of people had not heard of the Cape Fear Coast. Locals disagreed.

“I’m from Ohio and when I always heard of the Cape Fear region I would have pictured down here on the ocean,” New Hanover County resident Rey Philip said.

According to the TDA the goal of the new brand, through various forms of advertisement, is to attract first time visitors, promote accessibility from cities like Charlotte and to complement the beach towns.

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