CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Division of Tourism will have more money to spend on advertising West Virginia in the wake of the Jan. 9 chemical spill and water emergency in parts of nine counties.

“You have to make some strategic decisions based upon the circumstances,” said Keith Burdette, secretary of the state Department of Commerce, of the decision to put an additional $1.2 million into the tourism budget.

“This is the right time to do it.  We’re going to shift money around to try to get this done.  This has to be a priority this spring,” he said.

Stories about contaminated tap water in Charleston, W.Va. and surrounding areas were seen nationally and internationally earlier this year after the leak at Freedom Industries put crude MCHM and PPH, coal processing chemicals, into the Elk River — the source water for West Virginia American Water Company’s Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant which serves 300,000 West Virginians.

The concern for state officials is that questions about the safety of the tap water may keep many people out of West Virginia in the coming months.

“This is the spring planning season.  This is when people make decisions about their vacations and everything else and we think we have to double up our efforts to reassure that West Virginia is still the right place to come,” said Burdette on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“It’s always good to advertise your wares, to tell people what you’ve got to offer and we want to make sure that the ‘wild and wonderful brand’ has not been permanently damaged.”

The additional money will double the money the Division of Tourism originally had to spend.

Plans call for ads about visiting West Virginia to run in Washington, D.C. along with parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • epeer

    Jut a way for all the tourism people to get a bigger raise this year. They get one every year, whether all other tourism employees et one or not.

  • john

    Wait a minute! I thought the state was so tight on budget that they had to cut 1.2 million dollars from the senior services budget, along with major cuts in other needed programs, but then all of a sudden they come up with 1.2 million to spend on tourism.
    Where did this money come from? I've found that you cannot believe any politician, regardless of the job they have, especially the top dog in Charleston.

  • Dandy Dave

    . . "Poisoned and Hazardis" would be more fitting for many areas of this state. (he he he) But the beauty still does abound if one looks in the right places. Certainly not the in the coal lands or the chemically polluted river towns.

  • mook

    How about doin some fixin up of the parks .Why all the advertising, state has not moved any where! Start fixing up what we all ready have. Have 80's furniture and beds in cabins and its 2014 !! Come on ! Electric outlet boxes on wrong side of camp sites, cardboard over wndows in bath house when it gets cool out, no paint,still using incandesant lamps instead of leds, rusted out camp fire rings, childrens playground equipment out of date no SAFETY. The money thing can only be used so many times. O YA! how about sending some of these comments to the gov. office to see what he thinks!

  • Larry

    This advertising campaign, combined with the Saints practicing a few weeks at the Greenbrier, and the proposed "cracker" are going to be huge "game changers" for WV. Very soon people outside the state will realize it's no longer part of VA.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Wish I had a nickel for each time a local or state hack used the phrase "game changer".

      • Worm

        Also the cracker.....which will never happen.

  • thornton

    Come now, Chemical Valley is unlikely to be what is associated with "Wild and Wonderful" in West Virginia.

    I would expect that hotel bookings for meetings, promotional efforts with exhibit shows and that sort of thing in the Charleston area would be impacted.
    Perhaps a small bit of short stay tourism.

    Advertising is fine and small taters in many ways but one would be best advised to target that audience rather than someone climbing Seneca Rocks, putting a load in a fly rod, poshing up at the Greenbrier or skijouring in the mountains.

    This money is all about hopeful home cooking in the Charleston metro area....or does St. Albans have a scenic overlook that I have missed?

  • stating the obvious

    "Advertise our wares"...? Seriously?? If the tourism industry suffers from our "water crisis" the only thing we should be advertising are pictures of a new water treatment facility. People have no interest in seeing anything in our state if they think our water isn't safe enough to bathe in, let alone drink. Stupidity is an epidemic with our government. Fix the water and remove any source of contaminates (like chemical storage tanks near our water treatment facilities) and advertise that, not "our wares".

  • northforkfisher

    We can find money to waste on things like this, but not for important things like roads, schools, and jobs. With jobs, I mean long term jobs.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Yes, there's money for this.....but Route 35 cannot be finished.

  • WVU fan in Boston

    I would think that the advertisements should go into a Appalachian Mountain Club magazine, WEB site, along with LLBean, etc... For a targeted audience

    • Wowbagger

      Tight budget or not money is no object when these bozos have a bright idea!

      BTW: Burdette is one of the faithful, formerly in the legislature putting in a few years in a high paying super Secretary's job to punch up his retirement after years of low contributions as a legislator. Legislators are one of the few part time jobs covered by the state retirement system. Essentially he is cashing in on the contributions of full time but lower paid state employees.

  • jeff wisdom

    PORTLAND – The Portland Water Bureau decided to “discard” about 38 million gallons of drinking water, after a 19-year-old man was caught urinating into one of the reservoirs, water bureau administrator David Shaff said Wednesday. Water safe to drink in Portland.

    • GW

      That's a little overboard, don't you think? Next, they will be claiming a water shortage and conservation measures for the public.