International writers and travel companies tour Lynchburg for first time

Hill City hopes the exposure will promote moree tourism in the future

LYNCHBURG, VA – The City of Lynchburg is hosting a group of international travel writers for the first time ever in an attempt to boost the Hill City's marketing reach. This follows the IPW travel conference in Washington DC, that draws more than 1,000 travel writers and company representatives every year.

WSLS spent the day with the group Thursday, touring Thomas Jefferson's historic home, Poplar Forest. It's a site that plays right into BBC journalist Karen Bowerman's writing.

"Jefferson I like, particularly because we just visited here, and also because of his interest in wine, and I'm writing a bit of a luxury article, and so I'm actually going to incorporate vino-therapy spa treatment with that, but based on some of his botanicals that he was interested in at the time," said Bowerman.

Writers like Bowerman have a knack for getting small places big exposure. In fact, nationally, the US Travel Association estimates travel writers and companies touring across the country right now will bring in more than $4 billion in increased tourism.

"For Lynchburg, this is huge for us to be able to attract these international media," said Lisa Merriwether, with Lynchburg's Office of Economic Development.

She says what these journalists put on paper will create a type of marketing Lynchburg has never had before.

"When you write from it from that viewpoint, it makes others want to come and feel and see and experience the same types of things," said Merriwether.

Bowerman says, that's going to be her goal, and after the tour, says she has plenty of material to work with.

"Sometimes the little places that you don't know much about are often the most interesting," said Bowerman.

The group will get to tour the Community Market in downtown Lynchburg Friday, as well as the Old City Cemetery, before heading north to visit Charlottesville.