Gov. Justice Congratulates Department of Tourism On National Awards

Department earns top honors for vacation guide and social media campaign

Charleston, W.Va. – Governor Jim Justice today congratulated the West Virginia Department of Tourism for their recent recognition by the U.S. Travel Association.  The Department received awards for both its 2021 Vacation Guide and a Social Media Community Building campaign launched last year.  The two awards — Mercury Awards — are the top honors for state tourism agencies.  

“I love it, I just absolutely love it when we see that little ‘ol West Virginia is competing — and winning — at the highest levels,” said Gov. Jim Justice.  “I believe that we are just getting started.  Tourism is growing but there’s so much goodness ahead.”

The vacation guide took home the highest award for the category Printed Collateral Materials. With this year being the 50th anniversary of John Denver’s iconic song Take Me Home, Country Roads, and summer road trips being at the forefront of so many eager travelers’ minds, the guide highlighted West Virginia’s wide open spaces and stunning natural wonders.

The 2021 guide has already exceeded the West Virginia Department of Tourism’s print and digital goals. Less than three months into a 12-month distribution, all 250,000 copies have been sent to prospective travelers, and a second printing is in progress. 

In their evaluation of the guide, one of the judges noted, Definitely one of the best travel guides I have seen. I thought this publication was excellent and was exactly what the group described – a keepsake-quality product that would instantly elevate the consumer’s perception of West Virginia. During a year when road trips were on the rise, this theme and focus on outdoor activities was executed flawlessly. Innovative and well crafted editorial content stood out amongst peers.”

The Department was also honored with the top award for the Community Building category.  Last spring, the Department launched the #PlaceIBelongWV social campaign to highlight tourism at the height of the pandemic.  The goals for the campaign were simple:  to support partners and small businesses across the state while inspiring social media users around the globe.  Each week, the Department created social themes inviting users to post their own content relating to the theme.  The results were astounding with a remarkable level of participation by tourism businesses across the state.

“It’s a huge honor to see our state being recognized nationally. I can’t thank Governor Justice enough for his continued support and push to make West Virginia tourism the very best it can be,” said Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby.  “I also want to thank our amazing team who devote themselves daily to promoting this beautiful state we call home.” 

To order your own copy of the winning vacation guide or to follow the agency’s social media channels, click here

This post was last updated on September 1, 2021