Southern West Virginia this spring will showcase its travel and tourism resources for 80 members of the influential Society of American Travel Writers—an unparalleled occasion, according to state tourism officials.
While many organizations have pledged their support for the initiative, there's still time for other partners to engage, according to Roger Wilson, chief executive officer for Adventures on the Gorge, a principal sponsor for the event.
“We are truly excited that SATW will hold its first meeting in the state,” Wilson said, "and we're eager to show-and-tell southern West Virginia’s many compelling stories to some of the world’s best travel storytellers, who in turn will share those stories with their readers."
This 55-year-old organization represents some of North America’s most talented and productive writers, photographers, bloggers, and videographers, whose coverage appears in an array of national and regional magazines, newspapers, television, radio, and online media outlets.
Primary sponsors of the event include Adventures on the Gorge, the West Virginia Tourism Office, Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau, the South Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Southern West Virginia Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Delegates will spend the first night in Charleston and most of the second day exploring some of the top attractions in the Kanawha Valley, including the Capitol Market and J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. The recently renovated Holiday Inn Charleston-West is accommodating the writers and providing breakfast.
The writers will afterward tour the gorge of the New River, lodging in cabins provided by Adventures on the Gorge—a home base for the next three days as writers explore the wonders of the New River Gorge and southern West Virginia, including its world-class whitewater rafting and rock climbing and other outdoor adventures.
They'll also meet some of the region’s makers of art, local brewers, and culinary leaders. They'll also visit the National Park Service visitor center and learn about incentives to create the New River Gorge National Park.
"We've never greeted such an influential group of influencers in southern West Virginia—not since the days of the Hatfields and McCoys, when the outcome was not as positive," Sibray said.
"What happens here this spring may have repercussions that will be felt for decades to come, and I look forward to documenting the event."
Numerous attractions have lined up to support the core event or pre- and post-meeting tours, her said, including Tamarack, The Greenbrier, Hatfield-McCoy Trail, Pipestem Resort State Park, the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, Arrowhead Bike Farm, Hawks Nest Jet Boat Rides, and the Greenbrier Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Wilson said that within just the last week, additional supporters raised their hands, including Snowshoe Mountain, and Mardi Gras Casino & Resort, and the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Potential partners may contact Lawrence Fine or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss sponsorship opportunities.