West Virginia needs better marketing plan

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With the end of summer fast approaching, some may think that the tourist season is over in West Virginia.

And while we’re sure many people outside of West Virginia have more time to travel in summer than other seasons, we know there is still plenty of opportunities to invite out-of-state guests to enjoy wild, wonderful West Virginia.

From the state’s whitewater rafting opportunities to the wonderful scenery of fall, the mountains we call home offer tourists a splendid way to enjoy some recreation, rest and relaxation.

Throw in a stop at one of the state’s many historic sites, a visit to Morgantown, Huntington or Charleston for a sporting event or concert — a chance to learn something about true Mountain State hospitality — and we think visitors would not only enjoy one visit, but make plans to return.

As for other opportunities, the state isn’t marketed well enough to outdoorsmen, who could come here on weekends to hunt and fish. Or to those who just enjoy nature, they can walk the many trails at state parks, seeing a variety of birds and wildlife.

And in the winter, the state’s ski facilities are among the best on the East Coast, from Snowshoe to Timberline to Canaan Valley and Winterplace.

West Virginia state parks have a variety of accommodations, from lodges to cabins and camp sites. And there also are fine restaurants at many of the establishments.

We have to ask: “Why not spread the word?”

Instead, too much of the state’s tourism budget has been cut, or in some cases allotted to specific pet projects, specifically race tracks with gambling facilities.

We understand the need for marketing those establishments, especially since many neighboring states have opened gambling locations as well.

But we can’t forsake other tourism opportunities, especially as the state struggles for more revenue opportunities.

As for potential funding sources, we believe the state Legislature needs to look at the hotel/motel tax structure…

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