WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice and the state Tourism Office on Tuesday unveiled a new pilot campaign using advertisements on large box and semi-trucks to encourage people to visit West Virginia.
The effort will feature trucks with imagery representing the state presented on the sides. The campaign will target local commuters as well as drivers passing through West Virginia. The program’s first vehicle will travel in a loop between Parkersburg, Beckley and Huntington.
Matheny Motors, based in Mineral Wells, provided the first truck, which featured images of white water rafting, an off-road vehicle and hunting.
According to state Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby, around 5% of people in the United States plan to visit West Virginia in the next two years.
“The thing that concerns me the most about this number is not necessarily that it’s low, but that it’s been declining or it’s been stagnant for many years,” she said.
“We have to promote West Virginia as a vacation destination. It’s not that people don’t want to come here because they have concerns about what there is to do here; what we found in our research is that people just don’t think about this state as a vacation destination,” Ruby noted. “Well, we’re getting ready to change that.”
The governor said money spent on tourism results in a return investment “immediately.”
“As we go forward and we multiply, and we multiply and multiply and multiply, we are absolutely sending our message all over God’s green acres,” Justice added.
The effort is the byproduct of a partnership between the state Tourism Office and the West Virginia Trucking Association.