WSLS tracks tourism dollars: Are the millions spent paying off? - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

WSLS tracks tourism dollars: Are the millions spent paying off?

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The Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau has received records amount of money to attract tourist. Figure show that in the 2013-14 fiscal year, the Bureau received more than $2.7 million dollars which is 68% more than they received the previous year. Tourism officials said the increased investment by local governments has lead to more visitors and more tax revenue generated.

Events like the St. Patty's Day parade draw hundreds of visitors to the Roanoke Valley each year. WSLS learned the number of tourists coming to the area have grown, significantly. Tourism leaders said part of the increased interest is due to increased marketing. They say more than 75% of their multi-million dollar budget went toward marketing.

"We are spending a lot more marketing into North carolina, especially Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Greensboro" said Landon Howard, President Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau

Howard pointed out the record increases in hotel rooms booked and money generated. His figures show that in the past three years, room revenues increased by $10 million. He said much of the increase is due to local governments investing more tax-dollars to market the valley.

If you stop by the Visitors Center you'll notice a variety of marketing tools. Some feature information about outdoor activities while others focus on food and entertainment. Tourism officials said they hope to appeal to a variety of people.

"Our website alone is seeing anywhere between 900-1000 new customers per day" said Howard. "they are going to our website and mobile site to see what is happening at Virginia's Blue Ridge, in Salem, and other areas like Smith Mountain Lake."

With more than $700 million in tourism dollars coming to Virginia each year, officials hope the hundreds of thousand of dollars spent on marketing this region pays off in 2014.

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