More than 200 tourism industry representatives gathered at the West Virginia capitol today to advocate for the industry as part of Tourism Day at the Legislature.
The annual event is designed to raise awareness of the significant economic impact of tourism in West Virginia. This year’s focus was on the $8 in tax revenue generated for every $1 spent on advertising the industry.
“Today we recognize and celebrate our state’s tourism industry,” Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby said. “Tourism in West Virginia is big business. It supports nearly 45,000 jobs and lessens the tax burdens on hardworking West Virginians.
“Without the $527 million in state and local taxes generated from this industry, each household in West Virginia would have to pay an additional $700 a year in state and local taxes,” Ruby said.
“This is an industry that benefits us all, and that’s why Governor Justice has recommended we increase the state’s investment.”
Travelers spend just over $4 billion a year in West Virginia, which is equivalent to roughly $11.3 million per day. Research shows that every dollar the state spends on tourism advertising generates $8 in state and local taxes.
“Tourism advertising improves the state’s image across the board and is a strategic investment for West Virginia,” Ruby said.
“When folks are exposed to our advertising, they begin to view the state as more than just a place to visit. West Virginia becomes a sought-after destination – one that is perceived as a good place to live, start a career, start a business, attend college, purchase a vacation home and retire.”
The halo effect from tourism advertising was proven in a recent study which showed that after seeing a tourism ad, perceptions of West Virginia improved dramatically.