WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The new West Virginia Commissioner of Tourism says this week’s Greenbrier Classic is a terrific way to sell West Virginia.  “They’re coming here. They’re spending money in West Virginia,” said Amy Shuler Goodwin who’s been in that new role for about a month.

The state tourism division, she said, advertised The Greenbrier Classic in states like Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Visitors have been pouring in to see some of the biggest names in golf.

But Goodwin said they’re not the only ones taking advantage of the PGA stop. It’s a crowd pleaser for lots of folks right here in West Virginia.

“We’ve got to look to the left and look to the right and to the 55 counties and remind all of us of the benefit we have, nature’s outdoor playground!”

Visitors to the Greenbrier during tournament week average around 27,000 a day. That’s about half the population of the city of Charleston. With that many people in one place, Goodwin says it’s important to get the word out about other events and activities in West Virginia.

“We have great opportunities in West Virginia to do that, with the golf trail and the craft beer industry that’s just booming right now. We have tremendous opportunities and it’s right in our backyard,” explained Goodwin.

She stressed, right now, golf is big and getting even bigger in West Virginia. The numbers are proof.

“Tourism, as it relates to golf in West Virginia, we’re on the upswing right now. We register about four percent of folks who come into West Virginia and say ‘I want to do something.’ Four percent of those folks have golf as an activity,” according to the Commissioner. “That’s three percent nationally. West Virginia is moving forward. We’re already up to four percent now.”

Goodwin said you don’t get a much more picturesque place than the Greenbrier to advertise other activities across the state.

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  • Gary

    I watched some of the tournament on tv yesterday and it didn't look like there were many people watching on the golf course. Where do they get 27000 from? I think there inflating the number significantly.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      You're right, Gary. It did not appear that it drew much of a "they're spending money" crowd, regardless of what politicians want us to believe.

      The message I kept hearing was this millionaire or that millionaire had bought mountain homesites and now call West Virginia home.

      Bet they kept their old license plates and registration to save personal property taxes.

      Ahhhh........the taxpayer-subsidized life.

  • Skeptic

    A golf trail in WV? Really?

  • stophating

    I'm sure after the additional tax revenue generated by the Classic that there will be a tax cut coming for the working class...... (sarcasm)

    To the wealthy that we, the taxpayers, flew in--you are welcome, and I'm certain you could have paid your own way...

  • New Blood

    If golf tourism is on upswing in WV, why is Hawks Nest golf course which is operated by WV State Parks boarded up and now a weed patch ? If only state tourism board would get some new young blood board members and start advertising all the great things to do here we would really see a upswing.

  • ricardo

    Without the EPA WV coal would still be a dying proposition: played out seams, cheaper western coal and oil /gas from fracking all are nails in wv coal coffin. Tourism is a logical part of the diversification WV needs to prosper economically. Good article.

  • In da stickes

    Isn't the function of tourism to get people to come to our state, spend time and money and return to their homeplaces extolling the virtues of our beautiful state so that others might do the same? Or am I missing something? Tourism is a clean industry and we sit well positioned to attract some of the 50 million people that live within a four hour drive of West Virginia.

  • The Big Fan

    Isn't it the job of the Commissioner of tourism to get people to spend their money in the state. For the betterment of the state. I hope it's aways about the money with her in her new job. Speaking in general isn't everything about money to everyone.

  • william

    It's always about MONEY with SOME people.
    Are you all about money?

    • Grant

      Always negative. How can you get negative from this article?

      As poor as this state is, we should be concerned about money!

      • Mason County Contrarian

        I think the problem is that many don't understand that this is money and revenue for the state that comes and goes. What we need is permanence that establishes an economic base that, in turn, allows the state economy (and therefore real opportunities) true growth rather than a smoke-and-mirrors, taxpayer strokin' subsidized sports event.

        Meanwhile, celebrities come-say wonderful things about our state (unsurprisingly)-then leave.

        Makes good press and PR for the politicians and the Chamber of Commerce. West Virginians need and should expect more.

        I do.

        • ViennaGuy

          - What we need is permanence that establishes an economic base that, in turn, allows the state economy (and therefore real opportunities) true growth rather than a smoke-and-mirrors, taxpayer strokin' subsidized sports event. -

          Like the cracker plant near Parkersburg.

          (just havin' a little fun with ya, MCC)

          • Mason County Contrarian

            No problem, Vienna.

            That same thought went through my mind as I was typing earlier. I sincerely hope you are right.

            You have to understand my skepticism. The people in Mason County have been led down the Primrose Path by local hacks so many times that the grass has died. We can't even complete a dangerous highway as we witness our fellow citizens being killed almost weekly.

            Politicians are held to a higher standard in Wood County, perhaps. Here voters are swayed by the basest of "accomplishments".

            I hope that you folks get that fracker.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      I think you're on to something, William. Somewhat telling when a state government official leads off with "They're spending money in West Virginia".

      It sounds as if we have likened ourselves to street beggars, even by state officials.

      Perhaps if state government worked to prioritize and cultivate opportunity for ninety-nine percent of West Virginians, then we wouldn't be so prone to prostitute our state taxpayers for the one percent.