CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The American Bus Association (ABA) announced that the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair and the New River Gorge Bridge Day have been designated as Top 100 Events in North America for 2010 by an elite tourism industry selection committee. Inclusion in the Top 100 list, published as a supplement to the September/October issue of Destinations magazine, indicates that these events offer excellent value to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world, said ABA.
“It’s a great honor to receive such prestigious recognition from a respected group,” said Kathy Johnson, domestic travel specialist with the West Virginia Division of Tourism. “The motorcoach industry plays an important role as the average overnight expenditure in an area by a motorcoach is $7,500. Multiply this number by the nights spent throughout the state and you can see the economic impact is significant.”
With the release of the ABA’s 2010 Top 100 Events in North America, ABA celebrates 28 years of the Top 100 Events. What began as a way for motorcoach operators to incorporate new product into their itineraries has grown to one of the most sought-after lists by travel professionals, motorcoach operators and the general public.
“The attractiveness of both of these events as don’t-miss entertainment values is only part of why its selection this year is such a distinction for the state’s tourism industry,” said Peter J. Pantuso, CTIS, ABA’s president and CEO. “The real news here is that the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair and the New River Gorge Bridge Day have been recognized as potential magnets for tourism dollars, at a time when reenergizing domestic tourism is so important to our spirit and our economy. The honor gives the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair and the New River Gorge Bridge Day an important boost in visibility among professional tour planners.”
According to studies recently completed by researchers at George Washington University and Dunham and Associates, one overnight visit by a motorcoach group can leave from $5,000 to more than $13,000 in the local destination’s economy. Those dollars are spent on lodging, meals, admission, fees, shopping, souvenirs, services and local taxes.
“Simply put,” said Pantuso, “motorcoach groups spend more and stay longer. That’s why the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair and the New River Gorge Bridge Day events are truly a local economic asset. There is no better way to jump-start tourism than to attract motorcoach groups to a great event and convince them to extend their stay.”
ABA’s 2010 Top 100 Events Selection Committee selected the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair and the New River Gorge Bridge Day from among hundreds of U.S. and Canadian events nominated by state and provincial tourism offices and convention and visitors bureaus. Judges considered the event’s broad appeal, its accessibility to motorcoaches and skill at handling large groups, and a variety of other relevant criteria.
More information about these events is available at www.wvtourism.com or by calling 1-800-CALL WVA. A complete list of Top 100 Events is available online at www.buses.org.
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