Governor Tomblin Applauds Wild, Wonderful West Virginia for Marketing Momentum

 Report shows state tourism marketing doubles return on investment

2016 Longwoods International Executive Summary: VIEW

2016 Longwoods International Report: VIEW

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (December 15, 2016) – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today applauded Wild, Wonderful West Virginia for a report by Longwoods International that measured the impact of current marketing and advertising efforts. The report found that the state’s current branding and marketing campaign has significantly increased the positive image of West Virginia, while also doubling the return on investment in the campaign over the last year.

“Research shows that tourism is the fourth largest industry in the state, bringing with it $4.5 billion in travel spending and tens of thousands of jobs. Our investment in tourism last year not only helped to make these areas of growth possible, but we also have created tremendous momentum,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “While we have a lot to be proud of, there’s still work to be done as we collaborate with our tourism industry partners to make Wild, Wonderful West Virginia the premiere tourism destination.”

In 2014 Wild, Wonderful West Virginia (Division of Tourism) conducted a study to measure the effectiveness of past campaigns. In 2014, the report cited the travel and tourism industry in West Virginia returned in state taxes $7 for every $1 spent on advertising and marketing. The 2016 report shows substantial growth, with a $14 to $1 return on investment.

The report also indicates the Mountain State is closing the competitive gap on the impact and awareness of the image of West Virginia compared to surrounding states. In addition, the total visitor spending has increased from $96 per dollar spent on advertising in 2014 to $193 in 2016.

The report highlights how the impact of advertising awareness and visitation creates a “halo effect” that raises West Virginia’s image on key economic measures – most notably as a good place to live, a good place to start a career, a good place to start a business, a good place to retire, and a good place to attend college.

“This new report shows me strategic planning and aggressive tracking pays off, and robust investment in new photos, fresh video, and engaging content are paramount,” Commissioner of Tourism Amy Shuler Goodwin said. “Even though we’re still in the early stages of our campaign, we’re seeing great potential in new areas beyond our primary markets. Through new data we are finding we have a significant number of visitors coming from states such as New York, Texas, and Louisiana.”

The Wild, Wonderful West Virginia campaign generated more than 1.2 million trips to West Virginia and provided approximately $12 million in state and local taxes.

FOOTNOTE: While some comparisons have been made between the 2014 and 2016 research, it is important to note the 2014 research was conducted at the end of an advertising campaign that had been running for several years.  The 2016 research was conducted at the start of a new advertising campaign that included new creative, new photos, new video, etc.  In addition, the 2016 research does not account for any investments in new photography, video, content, production, etc.  

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