ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – Transforming the Roanoke Valley into “Virginia’s Blue Ridge” is part of a new effort to attract tourism to the area.
This week, drivers will notice the slogan has been painted on a new water tower off of Interstate 581.
Landon Howard, President of Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, said it’s part of a large-scale branding effort.
“We are now saying Virginia’s Blue Ridge and identifying who we are, what we are, and welcoming people to our region,” explained Howard.
According to a traffic study by VDOT, 46,000 vehicles a day will pass by the water tower.
“This is the first thing other than our beautiful scenic mountains that people will see as they are approaching our mountain metro area,” continued Howard.
Leaders like Roanoke County assistant administrator Richard Caywood, along with others in the Roanoke Valley, want visitors to know the region by the new name, “Virginia’s Blue Ridge.”
“Clearly for our region, the natural beauty we have in our area, and just that whole connotation really just made a whole lot of sense,” Caywood said.
While previous marketing and branding efforts focused on rack cards and magazines outside of our area, Howard said it was time to bring that branding home for local people to embrace.
The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport has really taken an initiative with the branding. They’ve made sure the first thing people see when they get off of their flight is ‘Welcome to Virginia’s Blue Ridge.’ The airport paid for permanent signage to be featured above the escalators in the terminal.
“The way that we view ourselves at the airport is that we are the front door to the region. We want to reflect that region that we represent,” said Brad Boettcher, the airport’s director of marketing.
Video kiosks with the logo are set up at popular destinations in the Valley, along with signage at the Berglund Center and the Salem Civic Center.
The name is catching on as local tourism continues to be an $800 million industry each year.