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Three-Day Travel Showcase To Promote WV

Reported: Feb. 22, 2014 8:29 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 22, 2014 10:56 PM EST

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Dave Benton) -- Putting West Virginia on the map for tourism is the goal of a three-day travel showcase in Charleston.

The Charleston Civic Center is being transformed into a travel showcase promoting West Virginia.

“This gives us a hands-on, boots-on-the-ground way to sell the state,”Alisa Bailey, of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, said. “There's no better way to sell something than to have them here in our state.”

Convention and visitors bureaus around the state are preparing registration bags with plenty of information for 500 group travel planners and journalists for travel magazines. They are coming from 11 states and will visit Charleston over the next three days.

This is a pretty big deal for not only Charleston, but the entire state. For the first time, the Travel South Showcase is being held in the Mountain State. And the timing couldn't be more perfect, since the water crisis put a dent in the state's image.

Jama Jarrett, of the of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, said it will be not hard to sell Charleston coming off the heels of the water crisis.

“These tourism professionals, when the water crisis happened, they're the ones who reached out to us and said, ‘What can we do to help you?’ ” she said. “Since its already planned and good opportunity for them to see first-hand that we are getting back to normal, and still able to offer great tourism and activities throughout the state."

The Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau is also represented at the showcase.

“It's for group tours, so we're pushing our group tour activities like Blenko, Heritage Farm and the Museum of Art,” Tyson Compton, of Huntington CVB, said. “Train trips in October - all these great things people can have a great time experiencing.”

Cities that usually host this event see an immediate economic impact between a half million and a million dollars.

The travel showcase will run through Tuesday.

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