ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – And the proof is in the numbers. Virginia’s Blue Ridge said it’s seen nearly a 20 percent increase in tourism.
In the Star City, Mill Mountain is one of the many sights visitors check out. Last year, tourism travel revenue raked in close to $780 million. This year, Virginia’s Blue Ridge said it expects the numbers to climb even higher.
Nestled in the mountains surrounded by nature’s beauty, the Roanoke River and Blue Ridge Parkway draw in the crowds. Paddle boarding, events like the Greek Festival and the 611 steam locomotive make the city’s t- do list.
“People are finding some very strong interest in niche markets like the craft breweries or the pinball museum,” said Virginia’s Blue Ridge Tourism Director Catherine Fox. “It’s part of the reason why 18 travel journalists from all over the country are exploring the highlights star city has to offer.
“There are three wineries in Botetourt County where we just returned from this morning,” said Wendy Van Diver, Touring and Tasting Magazine. “There’s just so much to do right here. So, it’s just an exciting opportunity to tell our readers about ways to spend more time in this area, but also in Virginia in general.”
Diver’s article of the city will be featured in Touring and Tasting, a nationally distributed magazine.
“They’re bringing more people; they’re staying, and experiencing an area they’ve never experienced before. And, they’re leaving their dollars here,” said Fox. “But, it becomes their vacation as well.”
Virginia’s Blue Ridge measures tourism by hotel room revenue. The summer season proves to be the busiest time of year, with a 19.1 percent increase from July 2014 to this year. It also tracks larger demand for rooms.
With the help of tourism and traveling journalists, word of the Star City is spreading across the nation.