CHARLESTON, W.Va. – They could help bring in a lot of new tourists to the area. The Travel South Showcase took travel writers for a tour of Charleston Tuesday to give them a flavor of the city.
Writers from eleven states are taking part in the three-day conference at the Charleston Civic Center. This is the first time West Virginia has hosted Travel South and organizers wanted to make sure those writers leave with good impressions. The question is did they succeed?
Apryl Chapman Thomas, a freelance travel writer from Watkinsville, GA, had never been to West Virginia before Travel South.
“I didn’t know what to expect but it’s a beautiful state and exceeded my expectations!”
Chapman Thomas said the state’s beauty is out there for all to see. She stressed it’s the hidden gems that take people by surprise. Things like the music scene, arts and crafts and the state biggest natural resource.
“The people! The people are very friendly. They love talking about what they do whether it’s art, music or anything. They’re more than happy to tell you about it,” she explained.
The writer said she already has story ideas bouncing around in her head.
“I feel like I’ve got a lot of good information to go home and get some articles out of it.”
Chapman Thomas plans to make a return trip to West Virginia. She wants to come back to enjoy the fall foliage.
Another writer was thoroughly charmed by Charleston. Judy Garrison writes for Deep South Magazine and Georgia Connection. She had never been to West Virginia either and wasn’t sure what to expect. But she’s leaving with good memories.
“The food has been great. The entertainment has just been spectacular,” she stressed.
Her favorite part of the trip was getting to see West Virginia’s wild side.
“We stayed at several state parks and I was really impressed with the lodges and the activities that were available,” Garrison explained. “That is really one of your shining stars.”
The writers took a tour of the Capitol Market in Charleston Tuesday morning. Garrison said its just the kind of place tourists love to stop.
“This is a draw for a lot of people. When they come through the state, they look for things like this.”
West Virginia Tourism Commissioner Betty Carver is confident Travel South will open up a lot of new doors to welcome visitors to West Virginia.