6:00pm: Sunday Sportsline

West Virginia encouraging more motorcycle tourism

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — The beginning of May mark’s Motorcycle Safety month, and Wild, Wonderful West Virginia’s Division of Tourism is hoping motorcycle riders will continue to see West Virginia as a great place to ride during the upcoming warm months.

Wild, Wonderful West Virginia unveiled their new “Scenic Drives guide” at a press conference overlooking the New River Gorge Bridge Thursday morning.

Amy Goodwin, Commissioner of Wild, Wonderful West Virginia’s Division of Tourism, said motorcycle riders offer a value to the state’s tourism industry that is hard to duplicate.

“They’re coming in,” she said. “They’re bringing nothing. They’re buying everything, and motorcycle riders have a great philosophy–which I love–to buy local.”

According to Wild, Wonderful West Virginia, the tourism industry in West Virginia accounts for approximately 4.5 billion dollars annually in revenue. With National Travel and Tourism Week starting this Sunday, she hopes that both individuals and families will give themselves a break. Instead of a length vacation to the Caribbean, Goodwin suggests you get to know the beauty in your home state.

“Right now in West Virginia, folks all across the country have a work martyr mentality,” she said.

“It’s really had an impact on travel and tourism across the country that people are not taking that time to spend. They’re also not spending their money.’

Donnie Hale, Program Coordinator for the West Virginia Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Program, said that’s also where motorcyclists can come into play.

“What motorcyclists want after they get a little bit of experience is the twisty, curvy roads and the mountains,” he said. “That’s what they like to ride versus a straight interstate.”

Goodwin said everyone inside and outside the state should explore West Virginia’s mountains, trails, rafting, and hiking opportunities afforded during the summer, but she’s particularly interested in bringing motorcyclists in because they don’t bring anything into the state–meaning they wind up buying what they need at West Virginia businesses.

“If you’re looking at the dollars and cents, we want everyone,” she said. “But motorcycle riders have a really unique benefit to West Virginia. They are spending more, and they are staying longer.”

“We have to eat,” Hale said. “We have to buy fuel. We have to buy–whatever we need–we have to buy while we are on the road.”

Thursday’s press conference was the first in a series of events throughout the state in the next week designed to promote tourism in West Virginia.

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