Kanawha visitors’ guide unveiled
CHARLESTON, W.VA.--Visitors to West Virginia will soon be able to see — or hold — what the Kanawha Valley has to offer right in their hands.
The first regional visitors' guide in recent years was unveiled Thursday by representatives of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, mayors from Charleston and South Charleston and other regional tourism representatives.
"We all came together...to produce the first ever countywide travel guide," Charleston CVB President Alisa Bailey said.
The 60-page, compact booklet lists shopping, dining, nightlife, entertainment and recreational attractions in the Kanawha Valley, and also has pages dedicated to events, free attractions, lodging and wayfinding — a system to help people navigate in unfamiliar surroundings.
One of the significant aspects of the guide, Bailey said, was the number of tourism organizations that coordinated to produce it.
In addition to the Charleston CVB, the Central CVB — a regional entity, South Charleston CVB, Nitro CVB, Charleston Area Alliance and local governments all contributed to the project. Charleston CVB Vice President Jama Jarrett served as the editor for the guide.
Tourism has an estimated $649 million annual economic impact in the Kanawha Valley, and the main advantage to having one regional guide is to make finding events and attractions easier for visitors. Many visitors to the area don't plan on staying in just one community, Bailey said.
"The tourists do not care where the city and county lines are," she said.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones concurred.
"I really believe our success is their success and their success is our success," he said, referring to other communities in the region.
Bailey said 78,000 guides have been printed and are expected to last for two years, though she wouldn't be upset if the supply ends up depleting faster than expected.
The guides will be available at state welcome centers, city buildings and CVB offices in the region in the coming weeks. Some local businesses will also carry the guides.
Bailey said despite digital technology, printed travel guides are still in demand in the tourism industry. She said she's heard nearby jurisdictions supporting that trend.
"People still want the guides," she said.