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Destination Competitiveness

About the Studies 

The destination competitiveness study is being led by Dr. Kudzayi Maumbe, West Virginia University Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Resources Program, and Doug Arbogast, West Virginia University Extension Community Resources and Economic Development unit. The purpose of the study is to assess the state of West Virginia’s competitiveness as a tourism destination in relation to other competing and neighboring destinations at two levels:

  1. regional, including the eight tourism regions of West Virginia
  2. state level
This study considers perspectives of the four important groups of stakeholders:
  • host community residents
  • host community service providers
  • destination leadership
  • visitors

The study was initiated in the Northern Panhandle and New River Gorge regions in 2013 followed by the Potomac Highlands region in 2015.

The study seeks to identify:
  • The Level of Regional Collaboration
  • Visitor Motives
  • Importance & Performance of Destination Attributes
  • Tourism Development Needs
  • Trip Characteristics
  • Demographics  
“The regional research project is providing valuable information for our destination marketing organization. The data is showing us exactly who our visitors are, where they come from and why they came to the Northern Panhandle. Armed with the right visitor information allows us to target our marketing dollars in areas that will bring the highest return on investment.”
- Frank O’Brien – Executive Director of the Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau
Technical reports based on study findings have been developed for the following regions.  
  • Northern Panhandle
  • New River Gorge
  • Mountain Highlands

Dark blue map of West Virginia that highlights the tourism regions.

If you would like more information on our Destination Competitiveness studies, please contact our West Virginia University Extension Rural Tourism Specialist Doug Arbogast, or at 304-293-8686