West Virginia Department of Commerce Cultural Heritage Tourism Opportunities

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Cultural Heritage Tourism Opportunities



Capitol Street, Charleston

History and tourism business opportunities within the West Virginia communities are limitless.

The demand for cultural heritage tourism destinations is an increasingly popular segment in tourism. Studies have shown that heritage tourists stay longer and spend more. This trend is expected to continue as baby boomers mature, resulting in increased travel and travel expeditures.

Geotourism is the new trend in travel and a form of heritage tourism. It is defined as "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of the place being visited – its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents," according to the Travel Industry Association of America.

In a 2003 study by the Travel Industry Association of America, more than 55 million American travelers exhibit attitudes and behaviors favorable to experiencing geotourism. Therefore, businesses in a geotourism market stand a better chance of reaping the benefits of travel industry revenues.

Also according to the study, nearly half of all American travelers want to experience local culture and support local businesses when they travel. This includes interest in visiting historic sites and museums, dining on regional cuisine, attending cultural events, enjoying natural areas and participating in learning experiences.  

If you would like to learn more about available store fronts in West Virginia's historic downtowns, please contact Monica Miller, West Virginia Main Street.