Tourism is big business

To the Editor,

The tourism industry is big business in West Virginia employing nearly 45,000 people and generating $4.14 billion in direct-travel spending. But not only is it big business statewide, it also greatly impacts Brooke and Hancock counties.

Brooke County benefits with 170 jobs related to tourism in the county, $14.3 million in direct tourist spending and $1.16 million in state and local taxes plus an additional $140,000 in revenue that is exclusively local.

Hancock County benefits with 4,130 jobs related to tourism in the county, $303.8 million in direct tourist spending and $60.22 million in state and local taxes plus an additional $4.02 million in revenue that is exclusively local.

West Virginia legislators could spur greater economic impact by supporting Governor Jim Justice’s plan to increase tourism marketing dollars by $14 million in West Virginia. More visitors coming here means more spend, more tax revenues and more jobs in the industry.

West Virginia is the best kept secret in the nation. We can do our part to change that by advertising and competing with other states in our region that have advertising budgets exponentially higher than ours e.g., Ohio $42 million, Pennsylvania $40.8 million, Virginia $22.9 million and Kentucky $9.2 million to name a few. West Virginia is only $4.1 million. Can you imagine what an additional $14 million will do for our state and local economy?

The 4,300 jobs tourism employs in Brooke and Hancock counties already has a huge economic impact. Our legislators have an opportunity to make an investment in jobs and our future. Everyone in our state needs to encourage lawmakers to make this $14 million investment in West Virginia’s future.

Dan Greathouse

Top of West Virginia Convention &

Visitors Bureau

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