Upshur CVB Executive Director Laura Meadows talks with the commission Thursday about the organization's annual report.

CVB focused on attracting tourists to outdoor offerings, including Upshur Trails, Buckhannon River and more

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau is trying to highlight attractions Upshur County has to offer outside of Main Street, its executive director told the Upshur County Commission Thursday.

Executive Director of the Upshur CVB Laura Meadows delivered the annual report for fiscal year 2019-2020, which runs from June 30, 2019 to July 1, 2020, at the Aug. 6 Upshur County Commission meeting.

“The past four months can’t completely wipe out the entire year, so I’m going to try to force myself to look in the past year with a positive mindset and look at this upcoming year with a positive mindset because that’s all I can do,” Meadows said.

She said they will not stop focusing on downtown shopping and eating, but that aspect of the Buckhannon-Upshur area is already well-known, so the bureau wants to show off other facets of Upshur County.

“We’ve worked a lot with trails, we’ve worked a lot with the waterways, and we have a great small business right now, Day Trippin Adventures, and they do kayak rentals, and I think they stay pretty busy on the weekends,” Meadows said. “We have great places to fish, we have hunting and we have campgrounds, so I think we’re really trying to push that and I think it’s resonating a lot, especially now because people are trying to escape those larger populated areas, and they want have that smaller family time trip.”

One of the bureau’s projects for the past year was to create Audra State Park rack cards, to allow information about the park to be readily accessible.

“The state no longer produces individually printed literature for individual state parks; they just have a generic West Virginia State Park guide,” Meadows said. “It was a commonly requested piece of literature whenever people came in our office, and we had people from across the state calling for specific information about Audra.”

In the past year, the bureau also increased the frequency of their walking dinner tours, scheduling them to occur on a quarterly basis.

“We did our typical fall walking dinner tour, we did a winter walking dinner tour and we did have a spring walking dinner tour planned, but that had to be canceled,” Meadows said. “We attempted to do a summer tour, but I don’t think the restaurants are at that level yet so we’re just going stay in touch with that.”

Additionally, the bureau has been working on making a new website for the West Virginia Strawberry Festival, they received their accreditation for another three years and reinstated the advertising grant program for local organizations and local businesses, Meadows said.

“The James W. Curry Park and Library was one of our first grant recipients, and they had a rack card produced about the campground to let people know the campground is there and highlight all the features of the campground, and we are helping them distribute those across the states,” Meadows said.

The Visitor Bureau’s website had 26,000 visitors, which Meadows said was a slight increase, along with sign-ups for their e-newsletter.

“For Facebook, we had 157,000 total impressions, so that’s not necessarily somebody liking or commenting, but an impression is just somebody who saw something, so 157,000 people saw our brand of ‘Small-town charm, Big time getaway,” Meadows said. “That has an impact continually, year after year after year, so we’re pushing that same message and it really has an impact, so I was happy with that. We had about 7,300 people actually engage with our social media posts, so that’s either like share or comment.”

The Event Center at Brushy Fork hosted 47 total events and made $22,600.

“That was with everything we were able to hold, and we were probably going to have maybe 10 more this past spring,” Meadows said. “Our numbers would have been a lot better, and then our revenue of course is a little bit less than previous years just because we were shut down for four to five months.”

The mission of the Upshur County CVB is to attract visitors from outside the area to patronize hotels, restaurants, the outdoor and other attractions in Upshur County and the City of Buckhannon. Visit their website by clicking here.

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