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Tourism in the Potomac Highlands
The Potomac Highlands area is truly an unique destination for outdoor adventures in West Virginia. The variety of activities range from riveting downhill skiing at one of the area's 3 ski resorts to quick Nordic (cross-country) skiing through backcountry in winter wonderland. It is a four-season destination rich with ecotourist activities such as whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, repelling, fishing, hunting and birdwatching.

Unlike other regions of West Virginia, the Potomac Highlands region has a year-round tourist economy, with balanced visitation throughout the year.

Tourism Facts
West Virginia's tourism industry continues to grow. In 1996, West Virginia hosted an estimated 19.8 million domestic leisure visitors, which accounted for 1% of the total US domestic leisure travel market. Compared to 1995, leisure travel to the state increased 3%. Since 1992, West Virginia's leisure travel market has grown 19%.

West Virginia's tourism industry is responsible for the generation of $4 billion in sales. Statewide, sales generated by the travel and tourism industry in 1996 amounted to $144 million in state sales tax revenues. The employees and businesses in the tourism industry contributed another $61 million in state personal and corporate taxes.

Every dollar travelers spend in the area creates a ripple of economic activity throughout the local economy. Expenditures that travelers make at the retail level stimulate secondary transactions resulting in additional impacts throughout the economy. Consequently, income is generated and workers are employed throughout many sectors of the economy.

What about the Corridor H region?
In the Potomac Highlands Region (Hardy, Grant, Tucker, Randolph, Pendleton, Pocohontas, Mineral and Hampshire Counties), $78 million in direct tourist expenditures generated an additional $37.5 million in indirect sales for a total economic contribution of $115.5 million in 1996.

In 1996, business and convention travelers generated an additional $106.5 million in direct and indirect sales to the Potomac Highlands Region for a total travel and tourism contribution of $222 million.

Sales generated by the travel and tourism industry in the Potomac Highlands Region supported an estimated 4,500 jobs in 1996.

Average expenditures in the Potomac Highlands region in 1996 were $61 per person per day.

If tourism increases by only five or ten percent with the completion of Corridor H, what will it do to the economy in the Potomac Highlands Region?

The Appalachian Development Highway System Concluded:
ADHS Has Created Efficiency - The ADHS highway corridors have created travel efficiencies valued at $4.89 billion over the 1965-2025 period. Improved road conditions and access resulted in greater efficiency. By helping the Region to be more efficient and accessible, economic opportunity has been expanded.

The ADHS Has Made Appalachia More Competitive - The ADHS highways have helped the Appalachian Region to be better able to compete for economic opportunity. This competitiveness is valued at $2.7 billion over the 1965-2025 period. Clearly, the ADHS has helped the Region to make progress, even though the system is not yet complete.

For tourist attraction locations, see Potomac Highlands Attractions & Facilities.

Sources:
Isserman, Andrew, Rephann and Terance. 1995. "The Economic Effects of the Appalachian Regional Commission: An Empirical Assessment of 26 Years of Regional Development Planning." APA Journal. pp. 345-366.

McClung, Gordan W. 1997. West Virginia Travel Economic Impact 1996. Conducted by
VALTec Group, Inc. and Market Vision Research, Inc. Morgantown, WV.

WVDOH. 1994. Secondary and Cumulative Impacts Technical Report, Appalachian Corridor H Alignment Selection Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. Prepared by Michael Baker Jr., Inc.
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