Page 9 - Salem Magazine Spring 2014
P. 9

Inside City Hall
Kevin’s Cor-
Kevin Boggess - City Manager 375-3016
Salem’s Kevin Boggess and Randy Foley are joined by Roanoke County Supervisor Charlotte Moore, Roanoke City Mayor David Bowers and Virginia’s Blue Ridge President Landon Howard in Jacksonville to accept the “Shining Example” award.
City, state and tourism leaders joined forces last spring
to show support for Virginia’s Blue Ridge by designating a percentage of the area’s lodging taxes to help market the rich resources of the region.
    If you were living anywhere in the Roanoke Valley in the mid-1980s, you remember the dirty word “consolidation” and the not-so-pleasant reactions it evoked from Vinton to Salem and throughout Roanoke City. While bringing all of the valley’s governments under one umbrella for everything may have been overly ambitious, recent developments have shown all of us the benefits of working together.
                                                                                                  As many of you know, the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau (RVCVB) has been working hard to attract visitors and their travel money to the region for years. In 2013, the organization officially became known as Virginia’s Blue Ridge in an effort to be both more marketable and more inclusive.
Near the end of last year, Salem, Roanoke City and Roanoke County took a major step to support the new cooperative spirit by putting their money where their mouths are. The local governments banded together for the betterment of the region’s tourism industry and committed to give the RVCVB three percentage points of the annual lodging tax revenue valley wide. This alone has generated more than $1 million that is being used to market this great place we all call home.
While attracting industry isn’t always easy, luring tourists to an area like ours that has so much to offer is big business. In 2012, tourism in the Virginia Blue Ridge region generated $730 million in revenue, and provided $52 million in state and local taxes and helped support more than 7,200 jobs.
While none of us should ever do anything for recognition, I was pleased to join Mayor Randy Foley and other valley leaders to accept a significant tourism award for this cooperative effort in Jacksonville last November. The Shining Example Award began in 1985 as a way of honoring individuals and organization that make significant contributions in the 12 member states that stretch from West Virginia to Florida. The honor we received marked the first time a joint jurisdictional nomination had ever been recognized.
 Recently, Salem also was fortunate to receive a $50,000 tourism grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation. The city is one of only six localities statewide to receive a grant in this amount and we are already using it to promote our “Summer Love” in Salem campaign. This campaign specifically promotes the Blue Ridge Music Festival, Shrimpfest, the Roanoke Valley Horse Show, the Salem Fair and the Salem Red Sox.
We also know Salem and the entire region have a lot to offer, and the sooner more tourists pay us a visit the better the local economy will be for everyone. | SPRING 2014

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