"West Virginians themselves is what drives this industry, and it is indeed our hospitality," says Betty Carver, Commissioner for the West Virginia Division of Tourism.
This year's Governor's Conference on Tourism brought West Virginia into a national spotlight: the U.S Travel Association was there and Senator Jay Rockefeller gave the keynote address.
"Every person working at their counter in their shop, selling products, taking people on tours. It just happens every day; there's never a magic bullet, there's never a magic bullet, it's all hard work," says Senator Jay Rockefeller, (D) West Virginia.
Senator Rockefeller says state tourism provides 44,000 jobs; the strength is in its people.
"They don't change your tire in you blow it out in New York City, in West Virginia they will. People take you in, they feed you. I've had that many times when I was campaigning and I'd be early in the morning, and I hadn't had any breakfast. I'd stop in somebody's door-front and they'd say, 'Have you had breakfast? Nope. Come on in, let me feed you,' " shares Senator Rockefeller.
An industry that generates well over $4 billion a year for the West Virginia economy.
"We have been very successful with small but steady growth over the past several years. We feel very fortunate, with today's economy, that we have been able to maintain that growth. You're seeing constant development in the industry," says Carver.
The crowd gave a standing ovation after Senator Rockefeller said each year he runs into the same international families visiting the state's national parks; recognizing West Virginia as a travel generation.
To find resources on traveling in West Virginia, see their tourism website.