CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Officials and representatives from across the state are gathered in Charleston this week for the 2014 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, the largest annual gathering of the West Virginia tourism industry.
The three-day conference features more than two-dozen speakers and panelists, more than 20 sponsors and nearly 300 attendees.
“It’s an opportunity for people in the tourism industry to get together and share ideas and best practices,” said Tim Brady, vice president of sales and marketing for Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau.“It’s a great educational opportunity. We bring in speakers from all parts of the industry to expose people in the tourism industry to new trends, tips and things they can use to grow the industry in the state.”
Brady cited presentations by Google’s Daniel Sieberg and Brand USA’s Amir Eylon among the conference’s high points this year, along with recently appointed Commissioner of Tourism Amy Shuler Goodwin’s “A New Vision” presentation.
During Goodwin’s presentation on Monday morning she described the logic behind choosing this year’s conference theme: “Turn it Up.”
After sitting down to with representatives of CVBs across the state and the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association, Goodwin said that one message resounded clearly above everything else.
“Almost everybody in each of those groups said these words: ‘We want more,’” she said. “More photos, more videos, more research, more energy.”
Goodwin said the general consensus of “wanting more” inspired this year’s “Turn it Up” theme.
Branding the state’s tourism industry through the Internet and various social media platforms has been a priority of her staff thus far, Goodwin said, and central to that effort is a complete overhaul of the West Virginia Tourism website.
“It’s not where it should be and it needs to be better, and we’re working on that diligently,” said Goodwin.
Goodwin said she has also spearheaded research projects to help build a “strong foundation” for all initiatives she and her staff are currently developing.
During her presentation, Goodwin made a call to action for more collaboration and coordination among tourism agencies across the state.
“We’ve hit the reset button,” said Goodwin. “Let’s go. Clean slate. Let’s move forward, but let’s build upon the stuff we’ve learned in the past and use the research and the information we gather to advance as we go forward.”
The conference continues in Charleston through Wednesday. For more information on the new tourism initiative, visit www.wvtourism.com or follow @GoToWV on Twitter.