Tourism: West Virginia has so much to offer | News, Sports, Jobs
It appears that roads all over the country lead to West Virginia, as tourists continue to visit the state at an increasing rate. In fact, new figures show travelers spent more than $4.9 billion in the Mountain State in 2021, a 3.8% increase from 2019 — before the pandemic hit.
Research compiled by Dean Runyan and Associates for its 2021 Travel Impact Study shows that nationally, tourism spending is still down about 27% from 2019.
“Our industry not only erased the impact of COVID-19, we actually did better last year than before the pandemic,” said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. “Thanks to the overwhelming support of the Governor, the determination and courage of our incredible industry, and our perfectly positioned state with great open spaces, we have been able to thrive despite the challenges the past few years have brought.”
Projections for 2022 show we could exceed $5 billion in travel spending, for the first time. For 2021, data showed that each of the state’s nine travel regions saw growth.
Imagine what we could do if we didn’t have so many elected officials who bend over backwards to do national news that tends to give people second thoughts about visiting.
But despite this challenge, it looks like there are some crazy and wonderful things to come for the travel and tourism industry here. Ruby is right. With all we have to offer, the only real question is why it took so long for visitors to discover us.