CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Jim Justice in partnership with the West Virginia Tourism Office today launched a new tourism campaign that positions West Virginia as “Almost Heaven” and invites visitors to find their version of heaven in the hills of West Virginia.
The campaign launch follows a two-week-long photo contest by Gov. Justice. The contest generated more than 7,000 submissions and helped to expand the Tourism Office photo gallery. The campaign features stunning photography that balances scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, and uniquely West Virginia activities and events.
“I’ve been saying for years that West Virginia is the best kept secret along the East Coast, and the time has finally come for us to tell our story and share ‘Almost Heaven’ with the world,” said Gov. Justice.
“Thanks to all of you, my fellow West Virginians, we now have a full library of photos that showcase West Virginia at her finest. That’s what this campaign is all about – sharing our beauty, our culture and our people with the world – and inviting folks to come into our home and find their version of heaven in West Virginia.”
The “Almost Heaven” campaign is inspired by the John Denver song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The beloved song is an ode to West Virginia’s scenic beauty and warm hospitality, and it has served as the official state anthem since Denver first dubbed West Virginia “Almost Heaven” in 1971.
“We’re one of the only states to form our brand around a song, but as we looked for new ways to tell our story, we found that the answer was right in front of us all along – in the profound and highly coveted lyrics of ‘Country Roads,’ said Chelsea Ruby, West Virginia Tourism Commissioner.
“We know that visitors fall in love with the heaven-like feeling you get while traveling along our country roads and rolling hills. The goal of this campaign was to capture that feeling, the essence of ‘Almost Heaven,’ and share it with new visitors through advertising that aims to connect on a deeper, more personal level.”
With 86 percent of current travelers to West Virginia consisting of repeat visitors, the new campaign aims to increase first-time visitation and reach new travelers across the region, while continuing to inspire the state’s loyal visitor base.
Research conducted by the Tourism Office found that individuals’ perceptions of West Virginia were positivity affected after hearing West Virginia referred to as “Almost Heaven” and being exposed to the song “Country Roads.” The research-backed campaign will roll out to TV, radio, print, out-of-home, online and social media in regional markets starting next week.
The Tourism Office campaign launch marks phase one of the new brand execution. Plans are ongoing to implement the brand across other state agencies during phase two, including the West Vi