The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation recently announced a new tourism initiative targeted at College of William and Mary faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni based on recommendations laid out in a William and Mary Tourism Task Force report released earlier this year.
The “Collegiate Pass,” at the heart of the initiative, gives College students, staff and faculty free admission to buildings in the historic area of Williamsburg, as well as discounts to seasonal special events, in an effort to integrate the area’s historic attractions with student life. Parents of College students will receive 50 percent off the $59.95 annual passes to Colonial Williamsburg, and alumni will received a 25 percent discount.
Students already enjoy free access with their College IDs, which will no longer be accepted for admittance into Colonial Williamsburg’s ticketed areas.
“In this economy, people are looking for opportunities to still travel, but they’re looking at ways to do it where they experience savings; and so this is a great incentive to reach the thousands of alumni of the College as well as families and the students themselves,” Senior Vice President of Tourism for the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance Bob Harris said.
In addition, the “W&M Tribe Package” offers campus visitors discounted accommodations, daily breakfast, a length of stay ticket to colonial attractions and area art museums, a souvenir mug and a $100 activities card for prices starting at $99 per person, per night.
“We were looking for opportunities to highlight William and Mary as a destination,” Carolyn Davis, director of Auxiliary Services, said. “We get almost 30,000 visitors [per year] here at the campus just through admissions, and we wanted to be able to offer to those visitors …the highlights of the campus and hopefully keep them here a little bit longer so they can really enjoy the area more.”
The initiative aims to redefine the College as an attraction and to increase tourism revenue for both the College and the Historic Triangle region.
“We’re looking to make those services which do generate money for the campus more available [to visitors]. Those services include the bookstore as well as campus dining,” Davis said with regard to increasing revenue for the College.”
Director of the Muscarelle Museum of Art Aaron De Groft thought the Muscarelle would benefit from the new initiative.
“I think what’s really interesting about this from our perspective is basically an old Dutch proverb, that a rising tide will float all the boats,” De Groft said. “Being so closely located together, we will get some spin-off traffic because we are an arts attraction. We have a better curb appeal, a better brand; we’re doing a lot of advertising and marketing ourselves.”
College President Taylor Reveley agreed.
“I don’t see this initiative as a change, but simply as the strengthening of ties that have long existed,” Reveley said in an email. “William and Mary enjoys good relations with all our neighbors in this part of the world, but especially with Colonial Williamsburg. The College and CW sit literally cheek-to-jowl. We share common interests in colonial history, architecture, culture and archaeology. And we have long had many common endeavors. The pass will strengthen these ties.”