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Visit VBR launches new branch to capture more sports tourism

VBR sports expected to attract youth and adult amateur sports

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ROANOKE, Va. – Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge (Visit VBR) officials held a kickoff event and launched a new website for VBR Sports at Countryside Sportsplex in Roanoke on Wednesday.

VBR Sports will focus on presenting the entire region as a desirable place to host new sporting events that will provide for a superior athlete and fan experience. The organization plans to continue attracting adult amateur sports as well as youth sports.

"The combination of youth, amateur and collegiate level events opens the door to bidding on more diverse sports opportunities," said Director of Sports Development Bree Nidds. "This builds on our reputation to successfully host championships and tournaments started by the City of Salem and brand VBR sports as a premier sports destination."

VBR has experienced tremendous success in attracting sports tourism. This segment of the VBR tourism industry currently generates 69 percent of the overall group business. Nationally, the market has proven to be recession resistant.

The number of children playing competitive sports has risen drastically over the years. Today, there are 30 million children playing youth sports, while in 1970 there were less than 8 million. Youth sports is the fastest growing segment in the travel and tourism industry.

VBR Sports will focus on maximizing exposure for all sports facilities within the VBR footprint including the cities of Roanoke and Salem and the counties of Roanoke, Botetourt and Franklin.