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Buzz 11-6-2013(1) Accepting the award – (pictured from left to right)  From the City of Salem, City Manager Kevin Boggess and Mayor Randy Foley, Roanoke County Vice-Chair Charlotte Moore, Roanoke City Mayor David Bowers and Landon Howard, President of the Roanoke Valley CVB.

The Southeast Tourism Society Honors Local Area Governments for their Leadership Role in Virginia’s Blue Ridge


Last night, Roanoke City Mayor David Bowers, City of Salem Mayor Randy Foley and Roanoke County Vice-Chair Charlotte Moore accepted the 2013 Southeast Tourism Society’s Governmental Tourism Leadership Shining Example Award in Jacksonville, FL.  This award honors an elected official (city, county, state or federal) whose support or influence greatly enhances the tourism industry.  This is the first time a joint jurisdictional nomination has been recognized.

All three governments banded together in support of the Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau (RVCVB) by signing off on a regional tourism agreement investing three percentage points of the local lodging tax to the RVCVB, adding over one million dollars dedicated to marketing Virginia’s Blue Ridge.  "This is a big accomplishment for regional cooperation and the beginning of a new era for tourism," said Landon Howard, President of the RVCVB.  "This is all about building a regional destination for Virginia’s Blue Ridge creating more jobs and increased local revenue.  We are already beginning to see the benefits of this investment with tourism numbers trending upward with more hotel rooms sold and more lodging tax revenues collected than at any point in our history."

Due to the increased marketing support from these local governments, the RVCVB will be able to expand its marketing reach to potential visitors through a campaign designed to attract target markets in Virginia and North Carolina to Virginia’s Blue Ridge.  "The support for tourism from our local governments is a great investment for Virginia's Blue Ridge," said Lee Wilhelm, Chair of the RVCVB.  "Visitors don’t see city or county lines.  The CVB’s job is to sell the area as a whole and can now do it much more effectively.  We appreciate the confidence that our elected officials have placed in our organization."

In 2012 tourism in Virginia’s Blue Ridge region generated $730 million in revenue, providing $52 million in state and local taxes and supporting more than 7,200 jobs.

The Shining Example Awards have been a tradition since 1985 and were started by the STS, an organization dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism to its 12 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Click here for a list of the past Shining Example Award recipients.



Catherine Fox
Director of Public Relations & Tourism
(540) 342-6025, ext. 114

Virginia is for Lovers
The Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau
101 Shenandoah Ave NE Roanoke VA 24016
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