RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Virginia Tourism Office is reaching beyond state lines to target travelers from outside the commonwealth. Commercials praising Virginia are now airing in 8 out-of-state media markets.
We talked to a number of families from other states at the rest area in New Kent County heading towards Williamsburg; they told us they had heard about Virginia through word of mouth.
"I've been counting down the days," said Tonya Parker.
Tonya Parker and her family were heading from their home in Rocky Mount North Carolina to Water Country in Williamsburg. She's been looking forward to this trip for a while and has heard good things about the park.
"Well it's so big, and there's a whole bunch of different rides that we don't have in North Carolina," Parker said.
That's exactly the message the tourism office is pumping into other states. Earlier this year, Governor McDonnell helped launch a television campaign to sell Virginia.
"We are very excited to be on TV for the first time in four years in all of our target markets: New York, Philadelphia, DC, and several markets in Ohio, so we are very, very excited," said Alisa Bailey, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Bailey says it's perfect timing, and so far seems to be working. Studies show that more people are traveling again since the recession. It's too early to tell exactly how the TV campaign is paying off, but signs are pointing in a positive direction.
"We'll be able to gage how well the campaign is doing based upon website usage and some other metric measures from airports, how many people, gas taxes, restaurant taxes, so we can get a pretty good idea, and I am very optimistic about travel this year," Bailey said.
The Virginia Tourism Corporation has also had good luck with its social media presence as a way to target those out of state travelers.