RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond is well-known for its ties to the Civil War and now tourism officials here are looking to take advantage of the upcoming 150th anniversary of the war between the states.
Tourism officials are now calling Richmond the "Gateway to the Civil War," hoping tourists will come to Richmond first for the upcoming Sesquicentennial.
"I was really interested in the Civil War, especially the Confederate side," said Neil Hancock, who traveled from Australia to visit Richmond. "I had read a bit about that back in Australia so Richmond seemed to be the center of those activities from what I've read."
Officials at Tredegar say more than 40 battles were fought within 30 miles of Richmond, leading museum officials to hope Richmond's past will bring people in the present.
"What happens after the war shapes what the city becomes, even in the contemporary times," said Christy Coleman, The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar. "That's why it's such a pivotal moment in our national past and Richmond is the perfect place to explore it all."
Tourism officials say bringing history buffs from out of town to Richmond means money, nearly $2 billion each year.
"Timing is everything but we're very fortunate," said Jack Berry, Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Richmond and the Richmond region, we have so many great Civil War attractions. If you want to see the Civil War, you really have to come to Richmond."
Hancock says he'll go back to Australia and tell his friends to check out Richmond.
"Certainly I'll be recommending this is the place to go," he said. "If you really want to follow up on the Civil War."
To check out the latest Civil War events, the Convention and Visitors Bureau has launched a new web site, www.ontorichmond.com.