The study notes that the state’s Wild, Wonderful West Virginia marketing campaign generated 1.2 million trips to West Virginia, $165 million in visitor spending, and $11.9 million in state and local taxes. All told, tourism now ranks as West Virginia’s fourth-largest industry.
Interestingly, this tourism success story is helping additional areas that tourism touches, including driving business development, real estate sales, purchase of second homes and even college recruitment.
This “halo effect” that tourism has on other aspects of the state’s economy has raised West Virginia’s image on key economic development measures, such as a good place to live, retire, attend college or start a career.
Granted, West Virginia’s economy needs to diversify and thrive before we see many tourists become residents in many parts of the state. But, this study shows what many of us tend to forget.
We have something here that people would love to have more frequently, whether in visits or putting down roots: a quieter life near natural beauty, with warm people and far less expensive than America’s larger cities.
If West Virginia can draw more business and industry without pushing out the rich culture people have come to expect from us, we can draw all kinds of retirees and even young people to within the state’s borders.
Kudos to the angels at the West Virginia Tourism Office for establishing this Halo Effect for the good of the order! And remember, all West Virginia citizens can help out by encouraging visits to West Virginia.
Full article here.