Mountain Music Trail Honored by British Guild of Travel Writers
Cara Rose, the Director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau, recently returned from London, England where West Virginia’s Mountain Music Trail, which runs right through Pocahontas County, was being considered for an international tourism award by the British Guild of Travel Writers.
Cara talks about this.
“I’m so happy to share with your listeners that the Mountain Music Trail, which is the 5 county region of Tucker County, Randolph, Pocahontas, Greenbrier and Monroe County, was nominated for the British Guild of Travel Writers Award for the Wider World Tourism Initiative for 2016” said Cara. “The award is nominated by Travel Writers who are a part of the British Guild. We had Travel Writers Kathy Arnold and Paul Wade visit the Mountain Music Trail in November of 2014, and they travelled the entire Trail. And they did write several stories about the Mountain Music Trail in British publications. Ultimately, following their visit, they decided that it was a tourism initiative that deserved some recognition. So they nominated the Mountain Music Trail for this award this fall. They did an initial presentation to a committee and the committee chose the Mountain Music Trail as one of the top three nominees, and went on to the finalist competition. And that was judged by all the Travel Writers who belonged to the Guild, which is about 270 Travel Writers in Great Britain.”
Cara, who attended this event in England at her own expense, explains what happened at the finals, which were held at the Savoy Hotel in central London.
I was honored to have the opportunity to go to London for the event” said Cara. “The evening was comprised of course dinner and several activities revolved around the British Guild of Travel Writers, but really the premier part of the event were the awards. The Mountain Music Trail was competing with a eco-friendly lodge in Ethiopia and a three hundred mile hiking trail through the Sinai Desert in Egypt. The Mountain Music Trail did not come away with the top honor, but we were highly commended for our tourism initiative here in the United States. It was really an honor to be there and represent not only the Mountain Music Trail and all the counties that make up the Mountain music Trail, but also West Virginia and for that matter, the United States. There were no other U.S. initiatives that were nominated. So it was a great honor for me to be there and accept on behalf of those of us living here in West Virginia and in our region.”
The 300 mile Egyptian Sinai Hiking Trail won, but I asked Cara if this meant we came in third place.
“I think it’s fair to say we came in second” answered Cara. “I don’t know that they actually announced them in any particular order other than the winner, but I was in the middle out of three, so I’m going to take that as a Second.”
International awards like this are certain to bring more international tourists to our area which may require more understanding by our residents and tourism businesses as Cara explains.
“We probably need to be a little more aware of what international travelers expect” said Cara. “They expect a cultural experience when they leave DC or Disney world behind they’re looking for that real connection with the local culture. So I think we need to keep that in mind as we as we begin to see more international travelers. And we need to understand that not all international travelers understand our tipping. So that’s another thing, don’t be offended if they don’t tip as high as we would typically tip here in America. We have to always be very, very conscious about our hospitality, and ensure that we’re always friendly whenever we have travelers passing through our communities and in our businesses.”
So, we salute the Mountain Music Trail and all the people who work so hard there for creating an international splash of publicity for our little corner of the world.