Valley tourism campaign to launch in January

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

HARRISONBURG — Eight counties and five cities in the Shenandoah Valley are teaming up to launch a branding campaign aimed at increasing regional tourism.

Jenna French, Shenandoah County’s tourism director, unveiled the campaign, dubbed “Today’s Shenandoah Valley,” during a presentation to the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 13.

The campaign combines marketing efforts from Frederick County in the north to Rockbridge County in the south.

An official launch date has not been set, but will take place in January, French said.

French told supervisors that the region’s localities want to encourage tourists to visit more of the Valley beyond the event or attraction they came for, a trend that may already be building.

On average, tourists visit between four and five cities or towns during their visit, French said, citing a visitor survey conducted by her department.

Of the 180 people surveyed, almost 70 percent of those questioned visited Staunton, 65 percent stopped in Harrisonburg and 60 percent visited Shenandoah National Park, according to survey results.

French said the campaign will focus on what she called the region’s strongest aspects, including outdoor recreation, small towns and “a diverse culinary scene made possible by our rich agricultural tradition.”

French also revealed the campaign’s logo and proposed mottos. Those included “Formed by Mountains, Fueled by Adrenaline” and “Formed by Mountains, Fed by Family Farms.”

Brenda Black, Harrisonburg’s tourism director, said Tuesday that food will factor into the city’s upcoming individual and regional marketing.

“We’re focusing on ‘Making History Fun Again,’ family travel and a culinary campaign,” she said. “That will include our first Harrisonburg Restaurant Week, which runs from March 5 to March 11.”

While Harrisonburg already advertises as far away as Germany and France, Black hopes that “Today’s Shenandoah Valley” will bring more tourist dollars to the entire region.

“It’s a great opportunity,” she said. “We’re looking for a way to bring people to Virginia and to compete with other regions like our Northern Virginia region and our southwest region.”

Each county and city will pay its share of branding costs through its regular marketing budget, Black said.

Harrisonburg’s budget is $90,000, while Shenandoah County’s is $67,500.

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