Local businesses benefiting from the gas and oil drilling boom already are looking to the future, Sleep Inn & Suites of Moundsville manager Joni Grubler pointed out last week. That means attracting more people to the Ohio Valley for recreational purposes.
"Oil and gas may be here for five years. I need tourism to fill my rooms," Grubler told members of Moundsville City Council.
She and Grand Vue Park general manager Craig White were at the council meeting to outline a plan for a convention and visitors bureau in Marshall County.
Members of a group now working as the Marshall County Tourism Committee hope to transition to convention and visitors bureau status, similar to the CVB working for Wheeling and Ohio County.
One advantage of that is a state law stipulating that half the revenue municipalities receive from hotel and motel occupancy taxes must be used to promote tourism and conventions. That has been occurring in Ohio County for many years.
In most communities, travel and tourism as an industry is a mere pipe dream. That is not the case in Marshall County, which, like Ohio County, has many attractions for out-of-area visitors.
A few of them include Grand Vue Park, the Indian mound from which Moundsville got its name, the Cockayne Farmstead museum and, of course, the old state penitentiary. The latter already has demonstrated drawing power with its annual "mock riot" programs for law enforcement personnel and other first responders. And, of course, the Ohio River and the beautiful scenery inland from it serve Marshall County well.
Creation of a CVB for Marshall County is an excellent idea, simply because it would provide much better marketing of local attractions. As travel and tourism professionals know, if you market it, they will come.
In addition, a Marshall County CVB could coordinate efforts with other local tourism agencies - offering an unbeatable package of reasons to visit our area.
Grubler, White and others involved in the plan will move forward. What they want is support from local government entities - and they should receive it.