Travel writers flock to area

By Henry Culvyhouse

Travel writers are flocking to Shenandoah County to experience local attractions, according to the Shenandoah County Tourism office.

Jena French, the director for tourism and marketing for Shenandoah County, said the county has experienced an influx of travel writers this autumn following a conference with the Mid Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance in early October.

“The conference enabled us to meet face to face with editors and writers for travel magazines so we could pitch them story ideas,” French said.

Earlier in October, The Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail, a partnership of counties in the valley extending from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia to Harrisonburg, hosted a tour for travel writers and journalists to see the tourist attractions in the area, amongst them, Shenandoah Caverns.

French said The Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail is instrumental in promoting tourism in the area.

“When we just look at tourism on a county by county basis, we really miss out because travelers don’t consider county borders when they’re looking for attractions,” French said. “By cooperating as a region, we are able to inform travelers about all our attractions.”

This week, Shenandoah County hosted a writer who researched a story on outdoor recreation and hiking for Recreation News. Next week, Shenandoah County will host a writer from the Le Journal De Montreal and Le Journal De Quebec, about winter tourist attractions.

French said no matter how many writers come to the area, they can always walk away with something new to write about.

“Each writer has their own unique perspective, their own likes and dislikes, their own focus,” French said. “When they write a story, they are sharing their unique experience, which is what travelers want: their own unique experience to remember and enjoy.”

According to French, the impact of travel writing on the tourism industry is great in terms of advertising the area.

“Consumers are very intelligent people, so when they see us put out a brochure, they know we’re stakeholders in that we want them to come to our county,” French said. “When a journalist writes about us, it is from an unbiased source. We have no control over the message.”

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com