CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Tourism Commissioner Amy Shuler Goodwin says the results of a new study serve as confirmation that West Virginia is becoming more of a player for tourism dollars the region.
The study, conducted by Longwoods International, shows for every dollar of state money spent on advertising and marketing tourism $14 in tax revenue comes in. The numbers after a similar study in 2014 were 1 to 7, Shuler Goodwin said.
“The bottom line–we’re doing the right types of marketing and advertising in the right regions to the right demographic–that’s what it says to me,” Shuler Goodwin said. “It confirms everything that we’re doing and it provides and places a value on that.”
The study shows West Virginia is closing the tourism gap with Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The information also shows the state’s image is changing among travelers, according to Shuler Goodwin.
“More people believe that West Virginia is an exciting place to vacation. They say ‘My family will love it. It’s a romantic place. It’s a luxurious place,’” Shuler Goodwin said.
According to the study, the total visitor spending has increased from $96 per dollar spent on advertising in 2014 to $193 in 2016. Shuler Goodwin said the state needs to continue to spend wisely.
“It’s not just about more marketing and more dollars. It’s about the right type of marketing, the right type of measurement and the right type of tracking,” she said.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin praised the results of the study in a statement released from his office.
“Research shows that tourism is the fourth largest industry in the state, bringing with it $4.5 billion in travel spending and tens of thousands of jobs. Our investment in tourism last year not only helped to make these areas of growth possible, but we also have created tremendous momentum,” Tomblin said. “While we have a lot to be proud of, there’s still work to be done as we collaborate with our tourism industry partners to make Wild, Wonderful West Virginia the premiere tourism destination.”
Governor-elect Jim Justice has said on multiple occasions he wants to do more with tourism in West Virginia. Shuler Goodwin said that’s music to her ears.
“We’re so excited. Our team is very excited,” she said.