Tourism Industry Projects to Receive Nearly $1.5 Million in Matching Funds to Attract Visitors to the State

CHARLESTON, WV (October 28, 2015) — West Virginia Tourism Industry projects totaling over 3.6 million have been approved by the West Virginia Tourism Commission to receive nearly $1.5 million in matching funds through the Matching Advertising Partnership Program (MAPP).

MAPP allows state tourism businesses to match their advertising dollars through partnerships with other tourism businesses and the state. Matches are based on the combined budgets of the applicants and their partners, as well as the amount of available funding. The matching funds support efforts to promote wild, wonderful destinations throughout West Virginia, increasing the number of visitors and travel expenditures to the Mountain State.

Approved requests representing tourism projects from across the state include:

American Mountain Theater:

Applicant funding requirement: $82,800.00; state match: $55,200.00

The overall goals for American Mountain Theater’s project is to continue to increase awareness of the Elkins, West Virginia as a premier tourist destination; to continue to increase group and motorcoach business; and to increase bookings of both individual ticket sales and vacation packages.   The campaign utilizes primarily newspaper and magazine advertising as well as Internet media, direct mail and consumer/trade shows.

Appalachian Forest Heritage Area:

Applicant funding requirement: $2,500.00; state match: $7,500.00

Appalachian Forest Heritage Area’s “Explore West Virginia’s Mountain Music Trail (MMT)” project is a focused campaign designed to brand West Virginia as a travel destination rich in traditional music and dance.  The project includes regional print and broadcast media, as well as Internet and social engagement.

Benchmark Conference Centers of West Virginia dba Stonewall Resort:

Applicant funding requirement: $187,405.50; state match: $124,937.00

Stonewall Resort’s 2016 “Summer of Adventure” campaign targets active professionals in the Pittsburgh and Charleston-Huntington markets through broadcast, Internet and social media, as well as direct mail, in order to increase visitation and length of stay through valuable mid-week offers and numerous outdoor recreation activities and events.

 Fayette County Education Fund:

Applicant funding requirement:  $1,530.00; state match: $4,590.00

Now entering its 14th year, the New River Birding and Nature Festival project is designed to establish Southern West Virginia as a premier birding destination. Through use of Bird Watchers’ Digest, the festival attracts nearly 100 percent of their attendees from over 50 miles away, and in 2015, Bird Watcher’s Digest returned six weeks after the event for a special Swainson’s warbler trip – further establishing the area’s reputation and generating additional revenue for the area.

 Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort:

Applicant funding requirement:  $187,500.00; state match:  $125,000.00

The “You Can Get IN on it All at Mountaineer Casino Eldorado Resorts” campaign will drive new business to the casino by targeting the 21+ demographic audience in the tri-state area.  Media will focus on consistent newspaper advertising primarily to promote the entertainment lineup.  Mountaineer will also utilize direct mail to drive repeat visitation and increase loyalty.

 New Winterplace, LLC dba Fayette-Mercer-Raleigh County Winter Coalition:

Applicant funding requirement: $185,100.00; state match: $123,400.00

Winterplace Ski Resort has teamed up with seven well-respected hotels, motels and other lodging facilities within Fayette, Raleigh and Mercer counties in this cooperative program to attract new skiers, snowboarders and snowtubers to the state of West Virginia through direct mail and print media, as well as digital display and retargeting advertising.

 New River Travel Council dba Visit Southern West Virginia:

Applicant funding requirement:  $187,500.00; state match:  $125,000.00

Visit Southern West Virginia has partnered with the National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association to increase awareness and promote the beautiful outdoor playground visitors will experience in the National Parks of Southern West Virginia.  The campaign utilizes print, digital and television media in national and regional markets.

Oglebay Resort:

Applicant funding requirement:  $170,640.00; state match:  $113,760.00

Oglebay Resort’s “Golf Advertising Project” combines print, broadcast, digital ads and retargeting, along with direct mail and trade shows to provide a dynamic, cost-efficient impact to golfers in Pittsburgh, Columbus and Cleveland markets. Last year’s project yielded 64,368 rounds of golf played at Oglebay golf courses.

Pendleton County Convention and Visitors Bureau:

Applicant funding requirement:  $2,046.00; state match: $6,138.00

Pendleton and Grant County CVB’s along with area lodging and recreation facilities have partnered together in order to increase overnight stays and reinforce their image as an outdoor recreation destination.  The campaign targets the DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland areas through print media and trade shows and also contains a unique landing page in order to track the results.

PNGI Charles Town Gaming dba Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races:

Applicant funding requirement:  $187,500.00; state match: $125,000.00

Hollywood Casino’s “Competitive Defense Focus Project” utilizes highly-targeted print in the DC, Maryland and Virginia markets as well as direct mail, to attract new and repeat visitors for regional tourism activities including gaming, entertainment, dining, lodging, shopping and festivals.

 Pocahontas County Convention & Visitors Bureau:

Applicant funding requirement:  $82,247.40; state match: $54,831.60

Pocahontas County CVB’s “Vacation Connection” project is focused on re-imagining the traditional family vacation in order to promote senior getaways, ‘creative tourism’ (living like the locals) and multi-generational travel through print, broadcast, Internet media and travel shows in target markets throughout the region.

Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau:

Applicant funding requirement:  $14,228.40; state match: $9,485.60

Putnam County CVB’s project focuses primarily on the development of a visually appealing and effective travel website in order to increase hotel stays, event attendance and tourism attraction visits to Putnam County.

Racing Corporation of WV dba Mardi Gras Casino & Resort:

Applicant funding requirement:  $187,500.00; state match: $125,000.00

The goals of the “Come Stay and Play” campaign include gaining new in-state and out-of-state visitors by increasing awareness and promoting return visits to both Mardi Gras and to Charleston and the surrounding areas.  The project will utilize print media, outdoor advertising, and direct mail.

 Snowshoe Mountain:

Applicant funding requirement:  $187,500.00; state match: $125,000.00

The “Winter Unabridged” campaign targets the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast to drive increased room nights and resort visitation.  The project utilizes very focused print advertising, along with a heavy concentration on digital and performance-based media to promote compelling offers, including best “book by” deals on lodging and packaged lift tickets, as well as season pass specials.

Southern Coalition for the ARTS:

Applicant funding requirement: $2,500.00; state match: $7,500.00

The main goals of the ARTS 2016 project are to build credibility and to attract visitors from at least 50 to 75 miles away to visit Logan for quality theatrical productions performed in the beautiful downtown, historic theater.  The project utilizes outdoor advertising along with print advertising in the State Travel Guide.

Timberline Four Seasons Resort:

Applicant funding requirement: $32,842.00; state match:  $21,894.00

The “What’s Your Season?” campaign will utilize print, Internet, direct mail, and radio to target prospective visitors within a four hour travel distance.  Market areas include DC, Virginia, Maryland and southwestern Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Through partnering with area businesses, the project increases the number of attractions and amenities available to travelers and gives the visitor the power to create an ideal vacation scenario of their own – a personalized getaway.

Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau:

Applicant funding requirement: $74,437.80; state match:  $49,625.20

The “Marketing the Top of West Virginia” campaign combines forces with the CVB and six area partners to increase tourism as a key element in the economy of Brook and Hancock counties.  The project utilizes regional print, broadcast and outdoor advertising to promote entertainment and attraction options, along with targeted consumer shows.

Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau:

Applicant funding requirement:  $186,000.00; state match:  $124,000.00

The “Tucker True” project targets bordering states within a 3 to 5 hour drive including Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and DC to increase overnight visitation and revenue to Tucker County.  The campaign utilizes primarily Internet media along with supporting print, direct mail, and electronic billboards in Metro DC.

 West Virginia Ski Areas Association (WVSAA):

Applicant funding requirement:  $1,250.00; state match: $3,750.00

WVSAA plans to utilize regional Internet media to increase top of mind awareness of West Virginia’s premier ski areas as first choice destinations for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the state and neighboring states.  The project is also designed to increase the number of new visitors to the state’s seven ski resorts by actively promoting January as “Learn to Ski/Learn to Snowboard” month.

 West Virginia Strawberry Festival Association:

Applicant funding requirement:  $2,500.00; state match: $7,500.00

This project celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the West Virginia Strawberry Festival, connecting the festival’s activities with visitors who value the spirit of small-town festivals.  The campaign includes development of a new website, multiple online ads and regional print media.

Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack:

Applicant funding requirement:  $187,500.00; state match:  $125,000.00

Wheeling Island’s “New Member and Player Retention Project” utilizes targeted newspaper, radio and direct mail to reach new and returning casino guests in order to generate increased revenue and awareness of casino amenities, monthly promotions, concerts and new member free play offers.