tourism

Elk, Standing Elk
Albert Herring / Wikimedia Commons

Officials in West Virginia are set to introduce 50 elk that were captured in Arizona.

Gov. Jim Justice and the state Division of Natural Resources are scheduled to hold a ceremony Tuesday at the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area near Logan.

A Covered Bridge Christmas

Nov 30, 2017
James Owston/ Alderson Broaddus University

Across West Virginia, many towns and cities will host Christmas parades and other holiday festivals in December. But only one town can claim to have a historic covered bridge in the backdrop of their festivities. Philippi is hoping to brand itself as a Christmas destination, with a historic twist. 

John Denver
RCA / AP Images

A song beloved by West Virginians will now represent the state across the country. The West Virginia Tourism Office is hoping the song will help promote the state.

The West Virginia Tourism Office says it has obtained rights to use the song "Take Me Home, Country Roads" in marketing and will begin this week.

Harpers Ferry, Bolivar
Mark Frickett / Wikimedia Commons

The small town of Harpers Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle is often referred to as a gateway into West Virginia. It was a prominent place during the American Civil War, and it was the site of John Brown’s Raid.

John Henry Memorial Park

Crowds gathered to watch the grand opening of a long-awaited West Virginia park.

News outlets report about 100 celebrants gathered Friday to watch the opening of the John Henry Historical Park in Talcott. The park will feature a John Henry statue, an interactive educational kiosk and a picnic shelter.

Medals, Medallions, Harpers Ferry
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There’s a group based in Jefferson County, West Virginia focused not only on improving health and wellness but also on incorporating the local community and history into that health experience.

Its 1,700-foot arch made it the longest single-span arch bridge in the world.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / New River Gorge, Fayette County, Fayette Station Road

The state’s three national parks in southern West Virginia saw more than one million visitors last year, resulting in a bump to the economies of the surrounding cities and towns. 

Eric Householder
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Department of Commerce gave the House and Senate Finance committees a presentation Monday morning to explore the state's competitiveness in attracting businesses.

The Commerce department also asked for a significant increase in its funding. However, that request collided with the reality of the state’s dire budget situation.

Passion, Not Position

Jan 13, 2017

My service for the state I love has never been about a position; it’s always been about passion.

While I’ve been blown away by the calls, texts, emails, social media posts, and favorite candy sent (you can keep those goodies coming folks), the positive momentum we have created in the travel and tourism industry in West Virginia during the last two and a half years has never been just about me.

http://www.ForestWander.com [CC BY-SA 3.0 us (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Amateur astronomers are signed up to watch the sky over central West Virginia this weekend.

The third annual Calhoun Stargaze is set for Friday through Sunday at the Calhoun County Park in Grantsville. The park is known for its pitch-dark conditions for favorable nighttime viewing.

Jim Justice
Steve Helber / AP

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jim Justice wants to make West Virginia a tourism mecca with plans to lure major horse racing and golf events to the state and establish theme parks and a gun shooting range.

Justice's campaign unveiled his tourism agenda on Tuesday.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House Judiciary has advanced a bill that would allow restaurants, wineries and distilleries to sell alcohol beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays if county voters approve of the change through a referendum. 

As approved by the committee, though, the bill does not require county commissioners to hold elections to allow the sales, only permits such ballot measures. 

Its 1,700-foot arch made it the longest single-span arch bridge in the world.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / New River Gorge, Fayette County, Fayette Station Road

While many state agencies were enduring cuts during the 2015 legislative session, the Division of Tourism actually saw an increase of about $4 million, totaling $7 million for the marketing and advertising budget. That money, however, was dedicated to creating and implementing a tourism marketing campaign titled “Real. Wild and Wonderful West Virginia".

Chiselbox.com

Matt Welsch, also known as the Vagabond Chef, has traveled all over the world experiencing culinary arts and food. You can find a taste of those travels at his restaurant, the Vagabond Kitchen, in Wheeling. Welsch recently took a 10-day motorcycle trip across the state of West Virginia. Over the course of 1500 miles, and throughout 39 counties, Welsch's objective was to connect and find other West Virginians who are passionate about cuisine, spirits, and celebrating the Mountain State in general.  The Vagabond Chef calls the trip “a true immersion experience.”


flybeckley.com

A West Virginia airport is beginning to offer weekly flights to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Governor's Office

With millions of extra dollars for tourism, West Virginia is kicking off a marketing campaign to sell its story to surrounding states.

On Friday, state Tourism Commissioner Amy Shuler Goodwin announced the campaign titled "Real." The push is based on market research and features West Virginians talking about what their outdoorsy communities have to offer.

Goodwin said the campaign taps into part of $4.7 million extra in newly approved tourism marketing money.

West Virginia Legislature

Gov. Tomblin was joined by members of the state Legislature, Division of Tourism representatives and craft brewers from around the state for the ceremonial signing of two bills Monday.

He signed Senate Bill 581, transferring oversight of the state Courtesy Patrol from the Division of Tourism to the Division of Highways.

Some of the funding for the program though, about $4.2 million, will stay with the Division of Tourism to be used for a national and regional advertising campaign.

At the legislature today, Republican leaders are one step closer to realizing their tort reform goals this session as the Senate passes a bill imposing comparative fault. The amended bill heads back to the House for its approval. And on tourism day at the legislature, we'll meet the new Tourism Commissioner and find out her priorities to grow the number of visitors to the state. These stories and more coming up on The Legislature Today.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 Update Wednesday January 7, 2015 11:46 a.m.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is postponing the meeting due to weather/road conditions. In an email, Kelley Gillenwater with the DEP said,

"Due to the inclement weather conditions in the Oak Hill area, tonight’s public hearing on the Danny Webb UIC permit applications will be reschedule. The date, time and location have not yet been determined but an announcement with those details will be made within the next couple of days."

Fiona Ritchie
University of North Carolina Press

This week we have a special episode of Inside Appalachia as we explore Appalachia through a multi-cultural lens, looking at how our culture connects to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and even Romania. We'll even visit a Hare Krishna Temple in West Virginia. And do you want to find out what Irish Road Bowling is and where you can go to see a game? Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Ken Thomas / wikimedia Commons

Five thousand people on some 500 boats are expected on the Gauley River beginning Friday as the U.S. Corp of Engineers begins drawing down the water levels on Summersville Lake, releasing a thunderous amount of water into the Upper and Lower sections of the Gauley.

The releases will occur during the next 7 consecutive weekends, supporting the local rafting industry and ensuring the river maintains its world class rafting status.

A faith based organization plans to develop land in West Virginia to create a youth camp. The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority made the announcement earlier this week.

Young Life, a non-denominational Christian organization, plans to build an adventure camp in Nicholas County close to Mt. Nebo.

The organization has 35 camps around the globe according to their website. In a release, Young Life’s state Director, Scott Berg, said it was the outdoor activities, and landscape that attracted the group to West Virginia.


National Park Service

A new National Park Service report shows that visitors to national park areas in southern West Virginia spent $51 million in nearby communities in 2013.

The report says a little more than 1,243,000 people from around the world visited the New River Gorge National River, the Bluestone National Scenic River, and the Gauley River National Recreation Area in 2013.

In a release today NPS Superintendent Trish Kicklighter said that in addition to providing visitors remarkable experiences in America's outdoors, National Park  Tourism is a significant driver in the national economy.

A young yoga skeptic finds interest in the exercises.

Kentucky farmers are testing the nutritional value of hay.

And a music camp carries on the tradition of ole time Appalachian music.

Residents concerned about environmental impact. After approval for a mountain top removal site near Kanawha State Forest, the safety of people living in the area are not the only red flag being raised. As Ashton Marra of West Virginia Public Radio reports, the possible effects on plant and animal life are drawing criticism.

Roxy Todd

Agri-tourism is not a new concept to Jennifer "Tootie" Jones. A fifth generation farmer, she raises grass fed beef on Swift Level Farm in Lewisburg. She was one of the farmers who attended yesterday’s event at the Capitol Market. She sells beef to 14 West Virginia restaurants and several retail stores, some of which are featured on a new online map, called Bon Appétit Appalachia, a project by the Appalachian Regional Commission. There’s also a print map, which lists 283 food destinations across the region, including:

NPR fellow Leah Binkovitz reports on the increase of ATV tourism in West Virginia and concerns over safety and regulation in this report for WBUR's Here & Now.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / recreation.gov

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to open campgrounds at five West Virginia lakes.
 
The corps says the Bakers Run and G.R. Freeman campgrounds at Sutton Lake will open April 18. The Bee Run campground opened on April 1.

Gov. Tomblin's office (@GovTomblin / Twitter)

Child abuse and poverty prevention advocates are questioning Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s priorities.

Among the $67 million worth of cuts from the budget bill Thursday was about a $1 million reduction in funding for programs meant to prevent child abuse and child poverty.

Governor Tomblin started the 2014 session with a budget that cut funding for programs like In Home Family Education, Family Resource Networks, Child Advocacy Centers and other child abuse prevention programs.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Two new geocache trails geared toward tourists open this weekend in West Virginia.

The Cabell County/Huntington Geotrail will take visitors on a treasure hunt through Cabell County looking for 15 caches. The Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau web site says the trail will include various types of geocaches including traditionals, unknowns and multis. This is the first time Cabell County is offering a geocache trail.

Meanwhile, the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau kicks off its second annual geocache trail.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With the state eclipsing the $5 billion mark for tourism revenue in 2012, this week’s Travel  South Conference in Charleston gave visitors bureaus across the state a chance to cash in and drive even more tourism opportunities to their respective areas. But the conference comes nearly seven weeks after the spill of thousands of gallons of MCHM into the Elk River by Freedom Industries. 

Many locals worry that the tourism economy would, much like the water, be left with a tainted reputation. Tourism professionals from across the country seemed unphased by the water crisis while here and local travel professionals hope the stigma of the spill won’t last. 

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