Shenandoah is attracting tourists

County ranks No. 1 in area in terms of spending by visitors

Correction: A story on Wednesday about Shenandoah County tourism listed the county as 23rd in Virginia for jobs generated through tourism. The article should have ranked Shenandoah County as 23rd in Virginia for tourism expenditures instead.

By Ryan Cornell

WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County is getting its turn in the limelight.

This month’s issue of Northern Virginia Magazine highlighted several destinations in the county as ideal weekend getaways for readers. An advertisement for the county was among the pages of AAA World Magazine. And two travel writers from Saveur are arriving this month to spill ink on the county’s food culture in a print article for the nationally circulated magazine.

Jenna French, director of tourism and marketing for the county, said she gave the two writers a list of recommended restaurants from New Market up to Strasburg.

“They didn’t want to just do a general story about a restaurant, they wanted something with more of a unique spin,” she said after a tourism council meeting on Tuesday. “So something like Cristina’s Café has the Virginia Green certification, the [Woodstock] Café with the different events they do. Not just writing about the food, but how that business fits into the county and the greater picture.”

The attention has translated into more visitors, both in person and online.

French said the website for county tourism, shenandoahtravel.org, has received more pageviews and unique visitors this year than for all of 2012. She said the county ranked first in the region for tourism expenditures.

The expenditures include money spent by tourists on lodging, restaurants, attractions and any tourism-related industries. French said tourists spend more money in Shenandoah County than Winchester, Harrisonburg and the counties of Frederick, Rockingham, Clarke, Page and Warren.

She said Shenandoah County ranks 23rd in Virginia for these tourism expenditures.

“When you look at the budgets of other surrounding counties and communities, they’re spending a lot more on tourism and yet they’re not producing as much,” she said, crediting Bryce Resort, Shenandoah Caverns and Route 11 Potato Chips as attractions that draw in high revenue.

She said the Top 2 foreign places tourists are visiting the county from are Germany and the United Kingdom. The third most common source of tourists is Japan, which she said fits recent trends of more Asian travelers visiting Virginia.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com