A News Environment Travel — 11 April 2018

The West Virginia Tourism Office today launched a new tourism campaign that invites visitors to discover their version of heaven in West Virginia, a destination abounding with unspoiled nature, rich history and a peaceful way of life.

The campaign “Almost Heaven” was revealed at a media event by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. The new initiative captures the profound longing West Virginians feel for their home and extends that sense of tranquility to travelers.

“I’ve been saying for years that West Virginia is the best kept secret along the East Coast, but the time has come for us to tell our story and share ‘Almost Heaven’ with the world,” said Gov. Jim Justice.

The “Almost Heaven” campaign, created with top-25 independent advertising agency BVK, is inspired by the John Denver song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The beloved song is an ode to West Virginia’s serene landscape and has become an anthem to the state. Incorporating song lyrics, scenes of rolling landscapes, pristine lakes and a picturesque view into West Virginians’ peaceful way of life, the campaign invites travelers to explore the Mountain State.

“We’re one of the only states to form our brand around a song. As we looked for new ways to tell our story, we found that the answer was right in front of us all along – in the profound and familiar lyrics of ‘Country Roads,'” said Chelsea Ruby, West Virginia Tourism Commissioner.

“We know that visitors fall in love with the heaven-like feeling you get while traveling along our country roads and rolling hills. The goal of this campaign is to capture that feeling, the essence of ‘Almost Heaven,’ and share it with new visitors through advertising that aims to connect on a deeper, more personal level.”

With 86 percent of current travelers to the state consisting of repeat visitors, the new campaign aims to increase first-time visits and reach new travelers across the region.

Research conducted by WVTO found that individuals’ perceptions of West Virginia increased after previewing the “Almost Heaven” imagery and listening to Country Roads. The research-backed campaign will roll out to TV, radio, print, out-of-home, online and social media in regional markets starting April 23.

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