West Virginia needs to attract more visitors

How many out-of-state residents will be persuaded by a new tourism campaign to vacation in West Virginia is a question. But clearly, we need to do something more to attract visitors to our state.

Gov. Jim Justice and other state officials unveiled the campaign Tuesday in Mineral Wells. The promotion will use pictures and messages on the sides of large trucks and trailers hauled by them.

At least at first, it appears the trucks will be traveling primarily on Mountain State roads. There, they may be seen by a few people passing through West Virginia.

In announcing the campaign, Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby made a disturbing comment. First, she noted that studies indicate about 5 percent of people in the United States plan to visit West Virginia during the next two years.

But Ruby told MetroNews that the number of potential visitors has “been declining or it’s been stagnant for many years.”

That needs to be reversed. Tourism is a major sector of our economy. Making it bigger should be easy, given the product — we call it almost Heaven for very good reasons — we have to sell.

Clearly, more effective marketing is needed, but that costs money. It has been suggested legislators ought to give the tourism agency more of that. If we want more money-spending visitors, that may be imperative.


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