By Tina Alvey
Of West Virginia’s 55 counties, Greenbrier attracts the fifth highest total of tourism dollars, according to the state’s latest figures.
In fact, Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) executive director Kara Dense revealed to the Ronceverte City Council this week that a record $243 million was spent on tourism-related enterprises in the county in 2012.
But Dense noted that the CVB, funded primarily through hotel/motel occupancy taxes collected by the county and a smattering of municipalities, is not ready to rest on its laurels.
The CVB will serve as a gold sponsor of the Travel South expo in Charleston later this month, expected to attract around 600 tour operators and travel media representatives eager for an introduction to West Virginia’s recreation and leisure market. Dense said busloads of the expo’s attendees will take a whirlwind tour through the Greenbrier Valley region, spending around two hours in Lewisburg.
A new initiative introduced just this month at the CVB’s Visitors Center in downtown Lewisburg is the art show program, Art in the Valley. Featured in February are 17 works by “A Brush in Time” artist, Marietta Lyall.
“The arts are an integral part of our area’s uniqueness,” a CVB media release quotes Dense. “We felt it was only fitting to give artists an opportunity to display their creativity within the Visitors Center, where visitors and locals have the chance to view the exhibits seven days a week.”
Art in the Valley will provide an outlet for artists in a region encompassing Greenbrier, Monroe, Pocahontas and Summers counties to display their work on a rotating monthly basis.
Artists interested in taking advantage of this showcase must complete an application, which will be vetted through the CVB, and to adhere to the bureau’s guidelines. No artwork will be sold by Visitors Center staff.
For more information about Art in the Valley or to obtain an applications and guidelines, call 304-645-1000 or e-mail Visitors Center manager Mary Cole Deitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CVB also just received 125,000 copies of its updated 2014 visitors guide, a publication chock full of information about the region’s recreational activities, unique shopping opportunities, overnight accommodations and diverse dining options.
According to Dense, Greenbrier Valley visitors guides can be picked up from visitors centers all across the state. Additional copies are available upon request through the CVB’s website (www.greenbrierwv.com).
— E-mail: email@example.com