Real Estate And Lodging Top List For Highland Chamber Web Search
Monterey, VA – The second part of Highland County’s tourism strategic planning process took place at the Highland center on Tuesday evening. Members of the Highland Economic Development Authority and Chamber of Commerce joined Virginia Tourism Corporation’s representative Randy Rose and several county business owners to work on the county tourism plan.
Chamber of Commerce Director Carolyn Pohowsky talks about the valuable information that the Chamber website is providing on potential visitors to the county. She says the statistics gathered from the Chambers business directory on the website indicate that visitors are most interested in real estate and lodging. She says this is an indication of people looking to possibly relocate to the county.
“Real estate is almost always number one of the top ten pages that people go to in the business directory” says Pohowsky “number two is almost always lodging.”
Website visitors are also looking at information on schools, the county newspaper, medical facilities, and emergency services. The most popular items in the business directory suggest that many visitors to the chamber website are looking at the county as a place to live, not just visit. The highest number of website contacts continues to be for events such as the Maple Festival and the county fair.
The number of visits to those pages has nearly doubled in five years and numbers several thousand. The Chamber of Commerce has added new pages to the website for different markets.
“Last year we developed a page around cycling and that came out of the partnership we had with the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission” she says. “They’re working on Bike the Shenandoah’ [and] we’re part of that Bike the Shenandoah program. We’ve built a very nice page for anyone who wants to come into the county and bicycle.”
Randy Rose, of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, is helping the county develop a tourism plan. The first meeting in the process held in June, focused on past tourism and marketing activities as well as looking at county tourism assets and events.
Nearly all the tourism promotion work so far has, by default, fallen on the Chamber of Commerce office. The consensus of opinion among the group at the meeting was that the chamber needs more resources to continue or increase its work in the area of tourism promotion. Rose stresses that no one knows the tourism potential better than the people of Highland County. He wants them to take that knowledge and put it to use.
The next topic for the group to tackle was tourism infrastructure and tourism policy. What does the county need, to make it more attractive to tourists? All of this information will be gathered together into the final tourism plan document. Specific recommendations will be developed to guide county leaders in future efforts to increase tourism in Highland county.
Two additional tourism planning meetings for public participation will be held on the evenings of August 23th and 24th in Monterey to finish the first phase of this process. These meetings are open to the public and anyone interested in tourism in Highland county is encouraged to attend.