Mobile Chamber Site - 6/17/13
Page County Grown - 6/10/13
June Featured Chamber Member - 6/05/13
Quebec cyclers in town - 6/03/13
Reminder for the Upcoming Visitor Guide - 5/27/13
Scholarship Winners - 5/20/13
Tourism is Big Business - 5/13/13
Try Zip Lining in Luray VA - 5/04/13
In 2011, technology magazines were writing things like this: “By 2013, more people will use mobile phones than PCs to get online.”
I don’t know if that came true, but several studies we’ve looked at and experts we’ve talked to verify that web browsing by smart phone is accelerating dramatically. And while tourists’ “advance planning” may still take place on a conventional website, they switch to a phone quickly once they arrive in the county-they need a place to stay, places to eat and shop, activities for their kids (most of whom have their own smart phones) and things to do.
So www.luraypage.com now has a mobile site to make it easier for visitors to the county to find what they need. Just turn on your phone and tap in that url to see it.
Any update a chamber member makes to his information on our conventional website will automatically be made to the mobile version as well. Our goal is to make it as quick and easy as possible for customers to find local businesses.
–John Robbins, president
Last fall, Page County, together with Rappahannock and Orange County Public Schools, was awarded $44,480 through a USDA Farm to Schools grant.
“When schools buy food from nearby producers, their purchasing power helps create local jobs and economic benefits, particularly in rural agricultural communities,” Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said. “Evidence also suggests that when kids understand more about where food comes from and how it is produced, they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.”
Since one study found that American teens consume about 34 teaspoons of sugar every day, making healthy choices is an important skill to learn-and our local farmers are helping them learn it.
Page County leads the state in serving locally-produced foods in school lunch rooms. Page County’s farms make their products available to our students by coordinating with Diane Dovel, food service director for Page County Public Schools.
As a member of Page County Grown, PCPS receives a variety of produce and proteins from several producers. David Sours with Public House Produce serves as the aggregator, delivering the product to the cafeterias on Wednesdays.
Page County Grown will hold its second annual Season Kick-off June 29 at PAL Center for the Performing Arts, and its third annual Farm Tour and Farm-to-Table Wine Dinner August 10. For more information, see their website here, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
–John Robbins, president
FREE: Competing with the Big Boys: How Independent Retailers Win and Keep Customers
June 18, 8 to 10 am
Retail expert Marc Willson will lead this FREE seminar, then visit one-on-one with attendees.
Also meet Alex Berry with Shenandoah Valley Workforce Investment Board, Inc. and Joyce Krech with Shenandoah Valley SBDC.
Triple Crown BBQ is now open for the season, Thursday through Sunday from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm, offering catering, picnic seating outside or carryout!
They are located at 1079 US Hwy 211 West
Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Jim Northup is inviting community neighbors to enjoy a day in the park as a part of Shenandoah Neighbors’ Day. On June 15, 2013, the park will waive entrance fees for those residents living in counties bordering the park including: Albemarle, Augusta, Greene, Madison, Nelson, Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham and Warren. Shenandoah Neighbors’ Day is an annual event held on the third Saturday of each June.
Superintendent Northup said, “Shenandoah National Park provides a nearly $74 million economic benefit to our neighbors, but it is certainly much more. National Parks are also part of the larger fabric of our communities, providing recreation and health benefits. We want to celebrate our adjacent communities and encourage our neighbors to experience these benefits by waiving entrance fees. We hope many neighbors will take advantage of the activities offered in the park during Shenandoah Neighbors’ Day.”
Shenandoah National Park’s partners DNC Parks and Resorts at Shenandoah, Inc. and the Shenandoah National Park Association plan to welcome park neighbors by providing residents of the nine counties with discounts. DNC, the park’s official concessioner, plans to provide a 10% discount on select items in their retail stores and a 10% discount on food and some beverage items at all their restaurants. The Shenandoah National Park Association, which supports the interpretive and educational activities of Shenandoah National Park, will offer a 20% discount on all items in their bookstores located in the Dickey Ridge and Byrd Visitor Centers.
Visitors wishing to take advantage of these discounts will be required to show proof of residency by showing their Virginia driver’s license.
I’ve seen a number of cycle-topped vans from Quebec around town lately, and I asked Chris Gould of Hawksbill Bikes if he’d noticed the same thing. Chris said since the weather in Quebec is still pretty grim in spring, the Canadians often travel here to begin their training year.
So when I went to lunch the other day and saw an SUV carrying two mountain bikes and bearing Quebec plates, I thought I’d try to find out a little more. I spotted two rail-thin guys eating pizza with mayonnaise, and of course they were cyclists. (Who else could eat like that?)
We started talking and I asked them why, when they could go anywhere on the East Coast, they chose Luray and Page County to visit. They talked first about the different riding opportunities and the splendid scenery, but then one said, “Cycling in Quebec is a small, close community, and we’ve all heard stories about what a friendly place this is for cycling. The people here are nice, and the drivers are respectful.”
In retrospect, I feel like I should have paid their bill. An international reputation for being friendly and respectful is probably more effective PR than any ad campaign money can buy. It’s also more evidence of our popularity as an outdoor destination-and yet another reason to take pride in this community.
– John Robbins, president
The Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting ads for the 2013-2014 Visitor Guide.
This is the single most widely distributed piece of promotional literature for businesses in our area. We print 200,000 copies and display them along I-81 and I-95, plus key locations in Washington, DC, northern Virginia, Richmond, and Baltimore. We hand them to virtually every tourist who walks into the Visitor Center, mail them out nationwide in response to inquiries, and give them out at major travel and tourism conferences and expos the Chamber staff attend.
All the information you need on prices and file specs is in our new rate card.
To get the card, stop by the Visitor Center to pick one up, call us at 540-743-3915, or send an e-mail to email@example.com and we’ll mail you one.
Deadline for signed contracts is June 10, 2013; installment payment plans are available.
All ad materials (photos, text, etc.) are due by June 12. You can provide a finished ad or we’ll help you design one.
NOTE: you do not have to be a Chamber member to advertise in the Visitor Guide, although Chamber members will pay lower rates.
In reviewing the scholarship applications, I cannot tell you how hard it was to pick the award recipients from all the applicants. Virginia schools are sometimes criticized for various reasons, but the applicants we considered were hardworking, ambitious, and had character. All those we spoke to credited certain teachers as inspiring and all thought their schools had prepared them well for college.
OK, they did say, “…and stuff” a lot.
Regardless, I was genuinely impressed by all these young people and feel they are a great reflection on their schools and their community. They are not entering an easy job market; then again, I don’t recall any job market I’ve ever seen that was “easy.” But I believe these students have the drive, focus and personal qualities that lead to success.
The Luray High School winners were Mary Lee Clark and Samantha Strickler. They should be proud of themselves, and we should be proud of them, too.
The Page County HS recipients will be announced June 4.
– John Robbins, president
Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, visited Page County May 6 and was a keynote speaker at the Luray Rotary Club meeting at the Mimslyn Inn. McClenny has a long record of service in the state’s tourism industry but is perhaps best known for the key role she played in facilitating Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” to be filmed here.
McClenny opened her remarks by saying, “Tourism is big business,” and she had the numbers to prove it.
Among her points:
- Tourism expenditures directly generated 207,000 jobs in Virginia in 2011.
- Tourism expenditures statewide increased 8.0 percent to $20.4 billion in 2011.
- Tourism in Virginia directly generated more than $2.6 billion in tax revenue for federal, state and local governments in 2011.
- In Virginia, total wages and salary earned by travel-generated employees and workers reached nearly $7.9 billion in 2011, up 3.3 percent from 2010.
- As we’ve reported in the past, tourist spending in Page County alone was nearly $60 million in 2011, up from about $51 million in 2007.
McClenny cited changing trends in American manufacturing as one of the forces making tourism more important to the U.S. economy than ever. A native Virginian, she closed her remarks by telling the audience, “You live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.”
– John Robbins, president
The Luray Festival of Spring held on Saturday, May 11 was a great success. The towns on Luray, Shenandoah, and Stanley as well as Page County, VA received the official designation as an Appalachian Trail Community.
Enjoy some photos of the event here.