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Charleston CVB unveils new initiative

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The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau is working with community leaders to help attract regional and national meetings, conventions and events to the city through a new initiative announced Dec. 10.

Capitalize Charleston asks community members to identify personal involvement in professional, fraternal, religious, military, civic or competitive sports organizations the visitors bureau can help attract to the city.

Mayor Danny Jones said attracting regional and national events to the city can pump millions of dollars into the local economy.

"The more events and people we can attract to Charleston, the more money will be infused into the local economy and the more local businesses will be willing and able to invest their capital here," Jones said. "By attracting people to come here, we are making a positive difference in the economic future of Charleston. Promoting tourism really is a capital idea for West Virginia's capital city."

According to the Charleston CVB, tourism generates $580 million in economic impact for Kanawha County, supports 5,000 jobs and generates $49 million in state and local taxes. Last year, the CVB booked 15,000 room nights in local hotels and hosted 66,000 attendees to various events in Charleston, meaning more than $10 million was infused in the local economy. Since July 2012, the CVB has booked 22,000 room nights.

Community involvement can be credited with the CVB's successes, said CEO Alisa Bailey.

"Our recent successes were, in large part, due to the involvement of local community leaders, and the Capitalize Charleston initiative is designed to build upon those successes," Bailey said. "When we host these meetings and events, we fill hotels. When we fill hotels, the small businesses that represent most of our tourism industry – the retailers, the attractions, the restaurants, our transportation sector – all benefit."