Associated Press Published

Almost Heaven: West Virginia Starts New Tourism Campaign

Sunset over Cheat Lake in Morgantown, W.Va.

West Virginia is embarking on a tourism advertising push using John Denver’s iconic song “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

Gov. Jim Justice unveiled” target=”_blank”>a video Wednesday, April 11, as the centerpiece for the campaign that frames the song and the state’s natural beauty. The campaign borrows the words “almost heaven” as its slogan.

Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby said officials “want to change the way people think about West Virginia.” She said research shows 86 percent of people who come to West Virginia eventually return. But last year, only 14 percent were first-time visitors.

The state tourism office previously obtained the rights to use the song in marketing. It’s been an unofficial West Virginia anthem almost since its 1971 release and was named an official state song in 2014.