CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Charleston is trying to sell the city during the 2014 Travel South Showcase. Five hundred business owners, travel writers and tour marketers are in town, for the three-day event.
Eleven southern states are participating in the event being held at the Charleston Civic Center. Convention and visitors bureaus along with business owners got to set down with tour operators to try and convince them to bring business their way. The event is all about selling your location to the folks who book tours and bring in visitors.
“It’s really an educational process about what we have to offer,” according to West Virginia Tourism Commissioner Betty Carver.
The West Virginia team put together four different bus tours of the state. Thursday through Saturday tour operators got to see some of the best of West Virginia from the Hatfield-McCoy ATV trail in southern West Virginia to the Wheeling Symphony in the northern panhandle.
West Virginia’s music and its history have been a big hit with the Travel South crowd. Carver said they’ve offered up everything from dulcimers to Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. to Mountain Stage for their listening pleasure. The goal is to get people to come to West Virginia not just for the sites but also for the sounds.
Sarah Irvine with the Pocahontas Convention and Visitors Bureau had a lot to share with the tour operators. From the National Radio Astronomy Observatory to Cass Scenic Railroad and Cranberry Glades, she stressed her area has a lot to offer. She said tour operators seem anxious to book trips.
“So far with my appointments, I either have people who say we’ve been there, we love it, we need your updated information,” explained Irvine. “Then there’s other people who may have done one or two things in the area while they’ve been traveling through but are excited to hear that we have a lot of really great things to visit while they’re there.”
Carver said in the midst of the water crisis this is a great way to get positive information out to those who make tourism decisions.
This is the first time West Virginia has played host to Travel South.