Letter: CVB: Tourism is big business in Upshur County

Locally creates 430 jobs and over $29 million in direct tourist spending

Dear Editor:

The tourism industry is big business in West Virginia employing nearly 45,000 people and generating $4.14 billion in direct-travel spending. But not only is it big business statewide, it also greatly impacts Upshur County.

Upshur County benefits with 430 jobs related to tourism in our county, $29.3 million in direct tourist spending and $2.27 million in state and local taxes plus an additional $282,000 in revenue that is exclusively local.

West Virginia Legislators could spur greater economic impact by supporting Governor Jim Justice’s plan to increase tourism marketing dollars by $14 million in West Virginia. More visitors coming here means more spend, more tax revenues and more jobs in the industry.

West Virginia is the best kept secret in the nation.  We can do our part to change that by advertising and competing with other states in our region that have advertising budgets exponentially higher than ours e.g., Ohio $42 million, Pennsylvania $40.8 million, Virginia $22.9 million and Kentucky $9.2 million to name a few.  West Virginia is only $4.1 million.  Can you imagine what an additional $14 million will do for our state and local economy?

The 430 jobs tourism employs in Upshur County already have a huge economic impact. Our legislators have an opportunity to make an investment in jobs and our future. Everyone in our state needs to encourage lawmakers to make this $14 million investment in West Virginia’s future.

Laura Meadows

Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau