Maura Johnson, Visit Southern WV pictured with Golden Ticket Mailing

Regional Tourism: Looking Ahead to the Future

BECKLEY, WV – According to the U.S. Travel Association, Covid-19 has significantly impacted the travel and tourism industry. Across the country, travel and tourism businesses of all types and sizes have been affected, including our friends and neighbors that own our favorite local shops, restaurants, attractions, or host our favorite events. 
But, there is good news for businesses and communities that rely on travel and tourism: People are planning to travel. It may not be today or tomorrow, but research shows that people are dreaming about future vacations. However, these vacations will look very different as responsible travelers are looking to stay closer to home. Drivable destinations with outdoor opportunities and small crowds will be very appealing for travelers. West Virginia perfectly fits the bill, and Visit Southern West Virginia created a campaign to stay top-of-mind as travelers are planning future trips.
Visit Southern West Virginia recently completed a 30-day campaign, The Golden Ticket giveaway, encouraging the planning of travel to the nine counties it represents. The campaign urged website visitors to enter for a chance to find a Golden Ticket and win a free trip to southern West Virginia! A total of five Golden Ticket Trip Passes were awarded along with 25 gift passes where the winner will be mailed a southern West Virginia keepsake. 
During that 30-day timespan, received more than 45,000 visitors and received more than 4,000 requests for information including 3,000 guide requests and Golden Ticket entries. Winners were selected using an online random number generator. 
“This campaign gave us the ability to keep southern West Virginia in front of future visitors searching for something new, something close by and something outdoors,” said Lisa Strader, Executive Director, Visit Southern West Virginia. 
Visit Southern West Virginia promotes 9 counties in Southern West Virginia. These 9 counties are: Raleigh, Mercer, Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, McDowell, Nicholas, Wyoming and Summers. The major cities in our region are Beckley, Hinton, Fayetteville, Summersville, Lewisburg, Pineville, Union, Princeton and Bluefield.