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News Releases

Local Tourism group wins state prize

- September 24, 2009

The home team, Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau, scored big in the recent Stars of the Industry Awards at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism held September 20- through 23 on Snowshoe Mountain.   The tourism office won Best Overall Advertising Campaign, for its new campaign Play.Stay, with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory winning the Mountain Award, recognition for the facility that stands above the rest for excellence in programming, distinctiveness and impact on the state’s economy or image.

The awards luncheon, which featured Governor Joe Manchin III as speaker, recognized exceptional efforts of Bill Rock COO of Snowshoe Mountain Resort awarding him the Tourism Professional of the Year.  Said Rock, “I’m honored to accept this award in recognition of the achievements of our team at Snowshoe. It is a privilege to work with such talented and dedicated people that provide exceptional experiences for our guests.”

The Pocahontas County CVB office also received its fully requested grant funds to a total of $205,208.50, second only to the many casinos represented at the Tourism Commission meeting.  The local tourism office will furnish the rest of the advertising program money with an additional $205,208.50.

“We were pleased to hear Governor Manchin underscore that one out of every four jobs in Pocahontas County comes directly from the tourism industry.  Tourism is economic development in this county,” stated Abbey Withrow, CEO and President of the Pocahontas County CVB.  “Tourism is more than putting heads in beds,” said Withrow, “it’s about keeping jobs and people in the county and putting money back through payroll and sales taxes.”

Other winners at the tourism conference were Sharon Rowe of Lewisburg received the Oshel Craigo Lifetime Achievement Award.  Rowe is chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association, a member of the West Virginia Tourism Commission and a member of the Tourism Committee of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.  Most Innovative marketing campaign went to Greenbrier County CVB, best print article was “The Greenbrier,” best print photography layout was Bridge Day, best web article was D.C. ski article on Canaan Valley and best broadcast was Fly Rod Chronicle with Curtis Fleming.
According to research done by Longwoods: Smith Travel Research shopping and dining continue to be top activities for West Virginia‘s overnight visitors. Nearly one in five people visit a National or State Park, while one in six visits landmarks and historic sites.  Forty-five percent of West Virginia‘s overnight visitors come to visit friends or relatives as their primary purpose. In contrast to job losses in the goods-producing sectors, service-providing employment will expand, although slowly. The majority of service-producing job gains are expected in three sectors: health care; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality. The strongest job growth during the past year was posted by health care (up 2,700); leisure and hospitality (up1,500); and professional and business services (up1,200).

The forecast from the WV Division of Business and Economic Research looks as though tourism is one of the most stable industries in the region.  Rising employment in leisure and hospitality is related to the growth of the recreation and tourism sector of the state economy. While slow through 2009, leisure and hospitality will add jobs on average during the next five years.

Conference attendees on Sunday were treated to a ride on the Cass Scenic Railroad then on to view the worlds’ largest steerable telescope at the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope.  Others took to the links at Snowshoe’s famous Raven Golf Club. 

The West Virginia’s Governor’s Conference is sponsored by the Division of Tourism with assistance from WV Group Travel Association and the WV Association of CVBs. 

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