The Sam Houston Statue Visitor Center and Gift Shop is embarking upon a major milestone of celebrating the “millionth person” to sign the guestbook. As of May 23, 2013, approximately 999,995 individuals had signed the guestbook, leaving 962 signatures to reach the goal of a million. The City of Huntsville Tourism and Cultural Services Department is currently conducting a campaign to build momentum until the millionth visitor arrives.
According to Kimm Thomas, Director of Tourism and Cultural Services, the campaign includes a special Facebook promotion, a grand prize totaling $10,000 in cash and prizes, and weekly and monthly prizes and giveaways.
“The millionth person campaign is off to a great start,” she said. “Over the course of the coming months, we will continue to give away an iPad each time we hit another 7,000 visitor mark, leading up to the millionth person to visit the statue and sign the guestbook.
"So far, we've given away two i-Pads, both at the start of the campaign and to the first visitor who help us reach a 7,000 mark earlier this month. We've also awarded a total of $400 in weekly prizes, and we've seen people travel from as far as Germany."
Thomas said the official Web site for the campaign - www.samhoustonstatueonemillionthvisitor.com – has also drawn strong interest, and one of the biggest online components of the campaign will utilize the Web site and the City’s Facebook page to get local merchants involved.
“One really interesting part of this campaign is our Facebook photo competition, which is a chance for visitors and residents to submit original photos of the Sam Houston Statue to be used in ongoing promotional efforts,” Thomas said. “We have three categories for the competition, including best photo, photo with the most ‘likes,’ and the oldest photo.
"We've had a lot of really interesting submissions so far, and we're excited to see more creative photos as the contest continues."
As prizes for the Facebook photo competition, Thomas said the department will award three $250 Visa gift cards.
“Merchants who donate to the campaign will be featured on both Web sites leading up to the day their donated items are given away,” she said. “We hope highlighting some of the unique vendors we have here in Huntsville will bring even more visitors to the City.”
Thomas said the millionth person campaign will draw a significant wave of tourists, visitor spending and sales tax revenue to the area.
“By promoting Huntsville through the millionth person campaign, we will create a greater excitement and awareness of Huntsville as a destination," she said. "We're getting very close to our goal, so we'd encourage everyone to come visit and bring their families. If you haven't visited the statue before, now is the time."