Many West Virginia communities are enjoying a marked increase in tourism as well as an influx of new residents propelled by the work-from-home revolution, and the extension service at West Virginia University is working to help communities build on that.
The service's new year-long monthly webinar series “Sustainable Rural Tourism” is designed to illustrate basic principles and demonstrate how individuals can apply them collaboratively to further enhance the future of tourism, says Doug Arbogast, the extension's rural tourism specialist and WVU associate professor
The sessions will cover topics such as destination management vs. marketing, leadership and capacity, and the use of data to make informed decisions, Arbogast says.
Arbogast notes that now, more than ever, many West Virginia communities have a unique role to play in growing tourism.
“Tourism has always been an important economic driver for the state, but the pandemic has created unprecedented interest in rural tourism that provides unique opportunities for West Virginia’s communities,” he said.
“During the past 10 years, WVU Extension has been working alongside community partners, tourism leaders, and others throughout the state to grow tourism using a participatory approach.
"Through these collaborations, we have accumulated knowledge and lessons learned to share as we work together to grow tourism, drive economic prosperity and address other potential effects to create a long-term plan for tourism.”
The free series, which runs from 11 a.m. to noon each month, is open to West Virginia residents, community leaders, tourism operators, and others interested in the topic.
A schedule of topics, along with a registration link, can be found on the Sustainable Tourism webpage. The webinars will be held on the last Monday of each month (unless specified otherwise). All participants must register for the educational series.
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