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Wisconsin Tourism Federation Changes Name to
Tourism Federation of Wisconsin to Avoid Acronym

By Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal SentinelMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 1, 2009--The folks at the Wisconsin Tourism Federation, a 30-year-old tourism lobbying coalition based in Sun Prairie, couldn't possibly have predicted how the Internet would change the lingo.

While its abbreviation, WTF, was fairly innocuous a few decades ago, it means something entirely different these days.

That meaning -- a phrase that can't be printed in a family newspaper, even though kids all over the country are texting it on a regular basis -- isn't what anyone in tourism wants potential visitors to associate with Wisconsin.

So the name has been changed to protect our innocence. It's now the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin -- an easy acronym switch that avoids any uncomfortable, ambiguous meanings. However, the URL www.witourismfederation.org, remains the same.

"We didn't want it to detract from our mission," said Julia Hertel, spokeswoman for TFW. The name change was voted on in July, but Hertel said the organization didn't make the switch on its Web site until recently.

"We thought we would go with the times," she said.

A blog called Your Logo Makes Me Barf pointed out the crude translation of the acronym in July, and the Journal Sentinel noted it in the Hubbub blog the same day, and again on Sept. 25.

If you think these kinds of branding issues are trivial, think again. On Tuesday, the change was news overseas.

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To see more of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.jsonline.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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