SHENANDOAH VALLEY — National Travel and Tourism Week (#NTTW18) is an annual tradition for the U.S. travel community. It’s a time when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal wellness.
As one of the oldest regional tourism promotional organizations of its kind in the United States, the Shenandoah Valley Travel Association (SVTA) has had a front row seat to witness the power of tourism for nearly 100 years.
Virginia ranks eighth in the nation for domestic traveler spending, and the Shenandoah Valley is one of the state’s “Top 10” most visited areas.
SVTA was instrumental in the creation of Shenandoah National Park, formally calling for the establishment of a new national park in the Shenandoah Valley in 1924. SVTA has promoted Shenandoah as an unparalleled tourist destination continuously since that time. Last year, Shenandoah National Park attracted 1.46 million visitors to the region. A recent National Park Service (NPS) report shows these visitors spent $95.8 million in communities near the park in 2017.
According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, using data from 2011-2016, travel expenditures across the Shenandoah Valley enjoyed a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.5% – outpacing the state as a whole.
The Shenandoah Valley region has long been recognized as one of America’s great places, and that natural beauty combined with a depth of authentic local experiences, is prompting more and more visits to the area. Visitors are increasingly motivated to experience the area’s outdoor recreation, walkable small towns, historic sites, breweries, vineyards, and cideries, as well as restaurants and farmer’s markets.
Millennials (people born between the early ’80s and the late ’90s) and Baby Boomers (people born between the mid 40’s and the mid-60’s) are searching for meaningful experiences while on vacation.
Today’s travel is all about the experience. SVTA recently branded an “EPIC EXPERIENCES AHEAD” visitor campaign, which showcases the off-the-beaten path adventures that are authentic and memorable.
During this year’s National Travel and Tourism Week, SVTA re-designed and re-launched VisitSkylineDrive.org, one of the Valley’s premier online tourism drivers, which draws annual online traffic of nearly 750,000 page views.
As the busy summer tourism season gets underway, SVTA believes that that the region is poised for additional sustained growth, citing the following reasons:
- Several major new hotels, which will add hundreds of new rooms to the market, are expected to open in 2018.
- United Airlines recently launched its new air service, which connects the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport with Chicago and Washington. This service is expected to bolster the region’s economy for domestic and international travelers.
- The opening of the new Shenandoah Valley Conference Center in Harrisonburg, combined with recent hiring of convention/group tour sales personnel at multiple Valley locations, will attract new business travelers to the region.
About Shenandoah Valley Travel Association (SVTA)
Founded in 1924, SVTA is one of the oldest regional tourism promotional organizations of its kind in the United States. The association promotes the tourism assets of the beautiful and historic Shenandoah Valley to the rest of the world. SVTA is a membership-based organization that receives no lodging or meal tax revenues. The Shenandoah Valley encompasses fourteen counties in Virginia and two counties in West Virginia, stretching from Harper’s Ferry in the north to Roanoke in the south. The Shenandoah Valley Travel Association partners with U.S. Travel, Virginia Tourism Corporation, and Capital Region USA (CRUSA) to advance travel and tourism to the area.
John Shaffer, SVTA Board of Directors / Luray Caverns, 540-743-6551 (x2250)
Kathy Moore, Moore Public Relations, 540-886-3131