By: Laura Peters
WEYERS CAVE – Thirteen communities have banded together in order to promote tourism stretching from Winchester to Lexington.
The Shenandoah Valley Tourism Partnership has unveiled its new marketing partnership and message during an event held at the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport Wednesday in partnership with the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s “What’s New?” program, a release said. The Virginia Tourism Corporation is the state agency charged with marketing the state of Virginia. The mission of the partnership is to promote the Shenandoah Valley as an outstanding year-round destination for visitors from around the world, a release said. Today, the Shenandoah Valley is one of the most popular getaway destinations in Virginia. “By working together to market their region’s common strengths and forming a regional brand, the Shenandoah Valley is helping the growth of tourism in Virginia with efforts like its craft beer and spirits trails or its outdoor recreation assets,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation, in a release. “By working together, the Shenandoah Valley partners all benefit from the increased economic impact.”
The Shenandoah Valley has already proved to be a big tourist destination, with a wide range of breweries and wineries, as well as agricultural pull.
Tourism is an instant revenue generator in Virginia and in 2016, visitors spent $24 billion, supporting nearly 230,000 jobs and contributing $1.7 billion in state and local taxes, a release said.
Virginia’s agritourism industry accounts for $2.2 billion in economic activity, according to a report from the governor’s office. The report also shows that the economic activity attributed to the Commonwealth’s 1,400 agritourism businesses supports 22,000 jobs, contributes $840 million in income, and injects $135 million in state and local taxes.
In 2015, 7.5 million visitors spent an estimated $1.5 billion at agritourism businesses throughout the state, according to the governor’s release. Northern Virginia, Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley ranked as the top three most visited destinations, accounting for 60 percent of total visitor spending, the governor’s release said.
The partnership has started to take shape and research conducted by Mikula|Harris has helped mold what the partnership will be geared towards in order to bring people to the area. MikulaHarris consulted visitor online surveys, local community leaders and tourism businesses as well as reviewed the most recent Virginia Tourism Corporation Profile of Shenandoah Valley Visitors.
“The Shenandoah Valley has so much to offer visitors, including scenic beauty, outdoor adventure, cool towns and more. I believe that our creative team has developed a campaign and website that really captures the personality of the region,” said David Mikula, president, Mikula|Harris, said in a release.
The Mikula|Harris team also spent an extensive time immersing themselves in the Shenandoah Valley by visiting attractions and towns and talking with partners, a release said.
In an effort to connect the travel and trade media with product found in the Shenandoah Valley and throughout the Commonwealth, each year Virginia Tourism assembles “What’s New?”, which is a compilation of new, renovated or expanded attractions, accommodations, meetings spaces, sports venues and travel services opening throughout Virginia, a release said.