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June 19, 08

NEWS / Tourism Commission approves more than $3.1 million in matching grants

The West Virginia Tourism Commission has approved more than $3.1 million in Matching Advertising Partnership Program (MAPP) grants. MAPP allows state tourism businesses to increase their advertising dollars through matching partnerships with other tourism businesses and the state. The matching funds, which began to be issued in 1995, support efforts to promote West Virginia as a premier tourist destination

Approved requests representing tourism projects from across the state include:

Adventure West Virginia Resort LLC — $299,168.25

Adventure West Virginia Resort is a merger of Class VI River Runners Inc., Rivermen and Adventure Mountain River Tours. This grant will be used to combine the marketing efforts of its individual companies into one campaign that promotes a variety of adventure vacations in southern West Virginia and on America’s Best Whitewater®. The marketing effort will use direct mail publications and travel-related collateral to existing rafting customers and recent inquiries; radio ads; magazine print ads in the state travel guide and assorted regional publications; and the Internet.

* Canaan Valley Resort — $67,763.50

“Total Mountain Escape” is a cooperative marketing project of Canaan Valley Resort, Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Blackwater Outdoors, Mountain Trail Riders and American Mountain Theater. The Canaan Valley Resort currently offers its guests golf, hiking/biking, geocaching, wall climbing, paintball, swimming and a full calendar of events. The partnerships of the “Total Mountain Escape” project add to those activities whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding and live variety shows, as well as attractions of dining, shopping and lodging. The geographic advertising markets targeted within in this project include: Charleston, Morgantown, and other in-state markets; Washington, D.C. metro area; Western Pa.; and Ohio.

* Charles Town Races and Slots — $382,962.92

Charles Town Races and Slots markets to adults 35 and older within a 150-mile radius. Its marketing plan focuses on retaining profitable customers and acquiring potential gamers in its target markets. The most cost-effective tool to reach its potential customers in mass is a combination of television and radio advertising. The direct mail campaigns focus on promotional entries, point offers and special events. Monthly newsletters will feature marketing partners such as Turf Motel and Clarion Hotel.

* Charleston Civic Center — $41,861.92

The Charleston Civic Center markets to the regional meeting and convention trade and the national concert market. The grant will enable the Civic Center to continue to focus on national publications, regional corporate meeting planners and national trade shows.

* Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau — $320,152.67

The Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) markets to two distinct audiences: meeting planners and general tourists within a one-day drive of Charleston. In addition, Charleston CVB proposes to use its grant to market to the motorcoach industry for the first time. The bureau will reach these groups through its participation in trade shows, direct mail campaigns and print advertising.

Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society — $28,400.00

This marks the 42nd season for the New River Train scenic excursion through the New River Gorge. The 2008 grant will allow the society to continue its 2007 successes such as its first-ever sold-out autumn color run. The Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society plans to reach new prospects and previous guests through magazine, newspapers, brochures, and direct mail to more than 3,000 tour bus operations. The tour package partners include a number of attractions in the Huntington and Hinton areas.

Convention & Visitors Bureau of Marion County —$41,522.50

The Marion Convention & Visitors Bureau will give its tourism partners within this grant an opportunity to place co-op ads as part of its own advertisement in the 2009 state travel guide. The CVB also will advertise in various publications around the region, including ones in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. In addition to traditional print media, Marion County CVB will run ads on the Internet and participate in travel trade showcases.

Glade Springs Village — $270,121.50

The goal of the Glade Springs Village promotional effort is to attract tourists who will spend multi-day vacations visiting the site and surrounding attractions. The direct advertising campaign will target highly qualified leads with an invitation to visit Glade Springs Resort and participate in other tourism activities. The Fall 2008 Visitation Package includes more than a dozen area attractions and activities.

Greenbrier County Convention & Visitors Bureau — $217,121.75

Goals for the Greenbrier County Convention & Visitors Bureau include increasing the occupancy rates in July, November and December for the county and for Lewisburg; increase visitation from target markets in West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C.; continue to build the perception of the area as a perfect long-weekend getaway; and increase awareness of the county as a motorcoach destination. The Greenbrier County CVB plans to accomplish these goals by pushing the campaign during early summer and late fall/early winter both online and in print; tailoring direct mail efforts to existing inquiries in target states; increasing the number of placements to specific target niches; and designing a new Destination Planning Guide aimed at groups and meetings. Advertising and promotional media will include print advertising, direct mail, collateral material, shows and the Internet.

Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention & Visitors Bureau — $134,950.00

The marketing campaign will showcase the Eastern Panhandle as a tourism destination of interest to the eastern seaboard. The Convention & Visitors Bureau plans to provide leadership and partnership to advance regional development in the state’s Eastern Panhandle. The CVB also will capitalize on strong visitation to its Web site to advance the visibility of the Eastern Panhandle as a whole and Martinsburg and Berkeley County as specific destinations. The CVB will use newspaper, magazine, and direct mail print campaigns.

McNeely Sports LLC DBA Nationwide Tour Players Cup — $170,373.09

McNeely Sports LLC, doing business as Nationwide Tour Players Cup, will implement a marketing campaign to attract more people to the Nationwide Tour Players Cup in Bridgeport from July 7-13. The campaign utilizes a combination of print, television and radio across the state of West Virginia and various regions out of state. Print media includes coverage in Charleston, Morgantown, Clarksburg, Fairmont and Parkersburg, with television and radio advertising running statewide. Nationwide Tour Players Cup will partner with Greater Bridgeport CVB in the advertising plan.

Midland Trail Scenic Highway Association — $89,089.10

Midland Trail Scenic Highway Association will use this grant to build name recognition and attract visitors to its 180-mile nationally-designated scenic byway. The target market includes byway enthusiasts, history buffs, antique lovers, art lovers and adventure seekers. This campaign will promote the Midland Trail/US Route 60 as the perfect alternative to motorists looking for a unique destination and travel experience. Funds will assist in the upgrading and designing of its Web site, publishing and distribution of an electronic newsletter, and purchasing of media.

Moundsville Economic Development Council — $27,869.75

The Moundsville Economic Development Council’s strategy is to attract an audience locally, statewide and internationally, and increase the number of tour buses as well as individual tourists to the former West Virginia Penitentiary. The council will continue to use billboards in the Huntington, Charleston and Nitro areas. Advertising will be aired on stations in the Pittsburgh, Parkersburg/Marietta and Charleston areas. Television advertising will reach 47 counties in West Virginia. Print advertising will be used in Parkersburg, Marietta, Wheeling and Pittsburgh newspapers as well as in the state travel guide.

Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort — $188,121.66

The Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort Table Game Introduction will complement the resort’s existing promotions. The focus of the campaign will be direct mail to invoke a return visit. Callers to the toll-free line also will receive information from the Hancock CVB, Homer Laughlin China Company and Tomlinson Run State Park.

North American River Runners — $76,857.50

Using a mix of traditional and Internet marketing, North American River Runners (NARR) will attract new traffic from families, adventure enthusiasts and group travel planners from the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. NARR will combine whitewater rafting trips with partner amenities to present an entire trip package to introduce new people to the excitement of paddle sports and the New River Gorge region. NARR provides adventure vacations for families with children as young as five years old. For groups, they offer packages with meals and lodging with a wide variety of activities at their base as well as with its partners.

Snowshoe Mountain — $362,605.00

Snowshoe Mountain, the largest winter resort in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, will use direct mail, radio, newspaper, magazine and Internet in its winter 2008-2009 campaign. The resort will partner and receive advertising support from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). In return, the resort will promote and cross-promote the NRAO through specific marketing collateral. This partnership will drive awareness and increase visitation to businesses in the area.

Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center — $252,455.35

With the expansion of table games, Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center will use the grant to target adults ages 25 and above seeking entertainment, dining and/or lodging within a 2- to 4-hour drive of its facilities. The campaign will use newspapers, billboards, television, radio and direct mail in markets such as Charleston, Huntington and Beckley, W.Va.; Chillicothe, Ironton and Columbus, Ohio; Ashland and Lexington, Ky.; and Richmond, Va. Tri-State again will partner with Sleep Inn to encourage and lengthen visitation and promote area attractions.

Tucker County Convention & Visitors Bureau — $29,837.75

The grant will help Tucker County CVB promote the Tucker County/Canaan Valley/Blackwater Falls area’s extensive outdoor recreational opportunities. The majority of resources will go towards Internet and electronic marketing with a smaller portion committed to traditional print media.

Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau — $33,161.72

Using the slogan “Wheeling is Your Place to Play,” the Wheeling/Ohio County CVB plans to promote its area as a multi-day tourist destination. Funds from the grant will focus on the leisure adult and family markets as well as group tours through use of newspaper, magazine and television advertisements.

Wheeling Heritage Port Sternwheel Foundation — $12,155.00

The Wheeling Heritage Port Sternwheel Foundation, a nonprofit organization, oversees the annual Wheeling Heritage Port Sternwheel Festival. To promote the September event, radio and television advertisements will target adults 18 and over and specifically those between the ages of 25 and 54 in the Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania areas.

Wheeling Island Racetrack & Gaming Center — $137,924.05

The Wheeling Island Racetrack & Gaming Center plans to stake a position in an increasingly competitive market to promote itself and the Northern Panhandle as an amenity-packed destination for the gaming, leisure, event and recreation-seeking visitor. Essential to this plan is increasing its marketing presence in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Advertising will include print, television, radio and direct mail in the Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio markets.
Contact Information
Anna Plantz
304-558-2288 ext 325



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