As the tourism sector becomes increasingly important to Tucker County’s economy, the local convention & visitor’s bureau can create more opportunities for local businesses and organizations that benefit residents.
The Tucker County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) office expanded the existing marketing sponsorships to include a tourism partnership program.
Jessica Waldo, executive director of the Tucker County CVB, said that last year the CVB board and its staff developed a three-year strategic plan focusing on the growth of these programs.
“The tourism partnership is more than marketing,” Waldo said. “It involves working with a local organization or business throughout the county to help them improve their tourism product and other tourism development opportunities. We have started working with Heart of the Highlands and look forward to adding more businesses and organizations to our partnership directory.”
The CVB will host a Tucker County Tourism Partnership meeting in late April to discuss the partnership program, the marketing sponsorships, and GA4, a new Google Analytics alternative. The meeting is open to any interested business, organization, or resident.
“During the meeting, we will share our goals for the year and want to hear from each tourism partner what they are doing,” Waldo said. “We want to hear about the needs, concerns, and challenges each may be experiencing.”
Marketing sponsorships are open year around. Organizations can contact the CVB at 800-782-2775 for more information on requesting a marketing sponsorship application. Applications need to be submitted at least a month before the event. People can also stop by the office at 410 William Ave., Davis or email Jessica Waldo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tucker County residents are also invited to attend one of the four meetings in March when the CVB presents the 2022 Annual Report; the city of Thomas at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 14; the city of Parsons at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 21; the Tucker County Commission at p .m. Wednesday, March 22, and the town of Davis at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 22.
The new tourism partnership program and the marketing sponsorships are part of the CVB’s overall mission to promote Tucker County as a tourism destination to increase tourist visits to the area.
“In turn, tourism generates direct and indirect revenue and taxes for the state and local economy,” Waldo said. “The monies we receive through the tourism industry allow us to leverage monies for small businesses throughout the county and advertise in places they can’t afford.”
One of the primary sources of funding for the CVB is the hotel-motel tax collected by lodging accommodations. A six percent hotel-motel tax is added to each overnight visitor stay which is equally distributed, with three percent going to the municipality or county and three percent to the CVB.
“If the visitor’s overnight stay is within a city or town limit, half of the tax collected goes to the local municipality, and the other half goes to the CVB,” Waldo said. “Any hotel-motel tax collected outside the city or town limits, such as from the Canaan Valley Resort and the Timberline areas, is split between the county and our office.”
The county and municipalities must follow guidelines when using their portion of the hotel-motel tax proceeds. These include parks, recreation, beautification, and historical to name a few. In past years the county has used money from the tax to fund EMS, emergency services, park & recreation and grants for local events and organizations, upkeep of Holly Meadows, renovations at Camp Kidd, and updating the emergency shelters.
“We spend the majority of our portion on advertising and promoting Tucker County as a tourism destination, in turn meeting our mission,” Waldo said. “We also use our funds to participate in the state’s tourism co-op program, which enables us to stretch our marketing dollars, reducing advertising costs for our tourism destinations.”
Several members of the CVB board and the staff attended a work session with the Tucker County Commission to discuss how the CVB can help fund some of the tourism projects currently supported by county monies.
“We hope to schedule a second work session in the coming weeks and continue the discussions,” Waldo said. “We want to work with the commission to find a permanent funding solution for EMS not just in Tucker County but all 55 counties in West Virginia.”
Tucker County is fortunate to be one of the top tourism destinations in West Virginia for out-of-state and in-state residents. The growth of the tourism industry has created a healthier local economy, more businesses, and more work opportunities for residents.
“Tucker County hasn’t always had the successful and robust tourism industry we have today,” Waldo said. “Not that long ago, many local businesses had to rely on the summer and fall seasons to make enough gross revenue to survive during the winter months. They struggled, and some didn’t survive. Now, with Perfect North’s purchase of the Timberline Ski area and the state parks investments, we are extremely fortunate, and tourists travel to Tucker County year around.”
This year the 2023 West Virginia Governor’s Conference on Tourism, the state’s premier tourism event, will be held at Canaan Valley Resort from Sept. 10 to 12.
“This event provides an opportunity for tourism industry partners to come together to find new and innovative ways to promote West Virginia as a top-tier vacation destination,” Waldo said. “We will have more than 200 partners from around the state in our backyard and want to showcase the beauty of our entire county.”
For more information about the Tucker County CVB programs and opportunities, visit www.gettuckered.com or call 800-782-2775.
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