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West Virginia has so much to offer

It appears roads all over the country are leading to West Virginia, as tourists continue to visit the state at an increasing rate.

In fact, new numbers show travelers spent more than $4.9 billion in the Mountain State in 2021, a 3.8% increase over 2019 — before the pandemic struck.

Research compiled by Dean Runyan and Associates for its 2021 Travel Impact study shows that nationally, tourism spending is still down approximately 27% from 2019.

“Our industry didn’t just erase the impact of COVID-19, we actually did better last year than we were doing before the pandemic,” said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby.

“Thanks to the overwhelming support from the governor, the determination and grit of our incredible industry and our state being perfectly positioned with wide open spaces, we’ve been able to thrive in spite of the challenges the past few years have brought.”

Projections for 2022 show we might soar past $5 billion in travel spending, for the first time.

For 2021, data showed each of the state’s nine travel regions showed growth.

Imagine what could be done if there weren’t so many elected officials bending over backward to make national news that tends to give folks second thoughts about visiting.

But despite that challenge, it seems there are wild and wonderful things ahead for the travel and tourism industry here.

Ruby is right.

With as much as the state of West Virginia has to offer, the only real question is why it has taken visitors so long to discover its wonders.

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