LED Lights and Tourism: Lights, Bridges, Tunnels, Oh My!

LED Lights and Tourism: Lights, Bridges, Tunnels, Oh My!

If you start to notice more and more LED –clad landmarks in major cities, know that they are there just for you.  That’s right, more major cities, from San Francisco to Memphis, are illuminating familiar stomping grounds all in the name of tourism.  Everything is fair game!  From tunnels to bridges, city officials are choosing to invest in these multi-colored displays in order to boost tourism.  

Cities are investing in multimillion-dollar plans to illuminate densely populated areas and their most popular transit routes in order to draw in tourists and make a lasting impression.  Just last year, New York City’s plan to attract visitors with their kaleidoscopic displays dancing along famous bridges saw great success helping to set record numbers of visitors.   As hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues already cast many eyes overlooking these grand views, an added LED wow-factor has made visitors flock to these locations in greater numbers than ever before.  It is, for all intents and purposes, like having dinner and getting a free show (or, let’s face it – a stunning background to really up your selfie game!).

In other cities, like Little Rock, Arkansas and Nashville, Tennessee, the proof of impact, thus far, isn’t so much in the actual numbers but in the public reaction and widespread praise for city efforts to improve the aesthetic of these iconic destinations.  The evidence is more anecdotal, shall we say, but the impact is none-the-less far-reaching and a great achievement.  After all, in this day and age, especially in the digital era where everything exciting must be shared online, a simple whisper of praise has very real power to turn into large numbers of visitors.   

While some cities are receiving funding from the state in order to make these costly upgrades, in most cases, these LED-powered boosts for the sake of tourism are happily funded through philanthropic donations and fundraising campaigns.  Everyone wants to get in on the action, as such a seemingly simple solution to beautify a city can take no time at all and generate buzz just as quickly.  

San Francisco’s “Bay Lights” project, for example, did just that.  Philanthropists raised $8 million in donations to deck out the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge with LED lights capable of incredible, animated light shows.  Their aim was to help distinguish it from the obvious attraction of the Golden Gate Bridge, which often overshadows all other bridges, and their plan worked.  Now, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge draws visitors from all over the world, for a glimpse of the beautifully illuminated bridge.   Surrounding towns, restaurants and hotels have even enjoyed a 30% increase (and growing) in business since the lights turned on in 2013.  Needless to say, the investment and reach of the exposure has been measurable.     

Though the true economic impact of these LED-driven tourist programs will need to be studied over years to come, the immediate results are undeniable.  LED displays have the ability to spark a positive reaction that resonates with the public, and it is that recognition and word-of-mouth praise that will absolutely bring folks together.    

Do you have an LED lighting project in mind? At Lane Technical Sales, we are equipped to handle projects of all sizes and types, from concept to completion. Give us a call today at 773.775.1613 to get started.

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