Visitor’s Bureau offers report

The Inter-Mountain photo by Tim MacVean Randolph County Convention and Visitors Bureau Secretary G’na Stephens gives a report on the organization during a Randolph County Commission meeting.

ELKINS — The Randolph County Commission received an annual report for the new fiscal year from an area visitors center this week.

G’na Stephens, Randolph County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board secretary, read a letter from the organization’s board of directors president Michelle Depp during a meeting Thursday.

“The RCCVB continues the nearly 30-year mission of promoting, advertising and marketing the incredible and vast tourism resources of Elkins and Randolph County as a whole. From museums and theaters to outdoor recreation and our state park/national forest to our shops and dining venues, we continue to drive the marketing of our region as a destination for visitors from all over the United States and many foreign markets,” Stephens read from the letter. “With buses, guided tour groups, families and casual visitors, Randolph County continues to offer something for everyone.”

Stephens added the agency has taken a variety of steps to try to increase tourism throughout the entire county.

“We have recently released our updated county wide regional marketing brochure, updated our website and its social media resources, and partnered with our regional programs such as the Mountain Music Trail and Traveling Route 33,” she read from the letter. “Mass mailings, promotional packets and direct outreach through internet, our leads have grown through the past year as (has) our social media presence. Our board and staff are ever exploring the new media outlets and opportunities to advance the tourism market of Elkins and Randolph County far and wide to put heads in beds.”

In the past year, both the city of Elkins and the Randolph County Commission voted to split hotel/motel tax revenue between the RCCVB and the Elkins Depot Welcome Center; however, Stephens said the group will continue to promote tourism to the area.

“Tourism continues to be the state’s number one industry and we are proud to maintain our role in fulfilling the mission we established nearly 30 years ago,” Stephens read. “With budget constraints due to the new funding formula by both the city (of Elkins) and county, we have modified our outsource giving and focused completely on our direct marketing for the coming year. We simply can no longer financially support many of the fairs, festivals and events we have in the past, but continue to promote them on our website, our events calendar and the inclusion of the materials to bus companies to entice visitors to our region.”

She also noted their visitor’s center, located along U.S. 219 just outside of city limits, remains staffed through the week and on “special weekends.”

“Our operations, while restricted a bit, have not altered our mission to provide not only marketing and advertising but also visitor’s services at our center on the edge of the city near the soon-to-be completed corridor. …” she said. “We look forward to moving into the 2019/2020 tourism year with a new perspective and an unwavering desire to fulfill our mission, as always.”