Tourism Day at the Legislature draws industry representatives to State Capitol
Annual event celebrating highest traveler spending in state’s history in 2022
CHARLESTON, WV (Jan. 23, 2023) — The West Virginia Department of Tourism was teeming with hundreds of enthusiastic travel and tourism industry partners from around the state today as they gathered together to celebrate the thriving tourism industry and raise awareness of the importance of tourism in West Virginia. Tourism’s economic impact is the highest in the state’s history with visitors spending approximately $13.6 million per day.
“Today was truly a day to celebrate all the amazing tourism-related accomplishments that have happened since the last time this group got together in Charleston–– like the industry’s historic growth and record high traveler spending,” said Governor Jim Justice. “I’m so proud of these amazing West Virginians and the strides that have been made in the past few years. It goes to show that investing in tourism is worthwhile and we’re reaping the benefits every day.”
While national traveler spending was still lagging 27% behind pre-pandemic levels in 2021, West Virginia traveler spending rates outpaced 2019 by 3.4%. These visitors spend $4.9 billion in state each year, generating more than $754 million in state and local taxes annually. Last year, West Virginia saw growth in all nine travel regions.
The tourism industry in West Virginia directly supports jobs for more than 44,400 hardworking West Virginians across the state.
“I’ll never be able to thank Governor Justice and the West Virginia Legislature enough for their unwavering support over the years,” said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. “That support coupled with partners who champion our great state, new economic development investments along with national media recognition, has brought West Virginia to the next level. We are looking forward to another year to continue this momentum.”
In 2022, the Department of Tourism launched a handful of exciting new initiatives–– the West Virginia Chef Ambassador Program, West Virginia Waterfall Trail, West Virginia Mountain Rides and the Almost Heaven Swings, to name a few. Each program highlights different aspects of the Mountain State and what makes it Almost Heaven.
With one of the largest celebrations in recent history, more than 110 partners from all nine travel regions were under the Dome meeting with legislators.
During Tourism Day at the Legislature, the Department enlisted the help of a few of the inaugural class of Chef Ambassadors to provide regional treats. Students from both the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf & the Blind and Nicholas County Career and Technical Center served pastries and West Virginia-roasted coffee to highlight their workforce training programs.
To access photos from Tourism Day 2023, click here.
About West Virginia Department of Tourism
The West Virginia Department of Tourism promotes West Virginia as a leading four-season travel destination and top state to live, work and retire.
Known as the Mountain State, West Virginia is one of the most scenic states in the United States and home to thousands of acres of parks and public lands, including America’s newest national park and 45 state parks and forests. In addition to its majestic mountains and rolling hills, West Virginia is full of rich historic sites, enchanting art galleries, charming towns and an immense sense of belonging found only in its heaven-like landscapes.
Within the past year, West Virginia has received many prestigious recognitions from top-tier national publications for being a must-see destination:
- Frommer’s – Best Places to Go in the U.S. in 2022
- Condé Nast Traveler – Best Places to go in 2022
- USA Today – 10 Best Places to go with Kids in 2022
- Lonely Planet – Top Travel Region to Visit in 2022
- CNN – 22 of the USA’s most underrated destinations
For more information about West Virginia and to plan your trip, visit www.WVtourism.com
This post was last updated on January 23, 2023