Danville creates first Regional Tourism Master Plan to draw in visitors and locals

Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - There is a new Tourism Master Plan that will be used as a roadmap to guide visitors to the region and highlight the many opportunities in Southside.

The 188-page plan is based on research and input from over 2,000 residents and business owners over the past year through surveys and interviews. They also used geofencing to track visitors.

Through the year-long process, they came up with the first ever Regional Tourism Master Plan and a new brand identity – Visit SoSi.

“We need our local citizens to understand what SoSi is and get them excited about the things that we’re doing with the guides and our maps, and help them see their community through the eyes of the visitors that are coming here.” said Lisa Meriwether, Tourism Manager for the Danville Office of Economic Development and Tourism.

The citizens expressed they hoped the new brand for the region would capture Danville and Pittsylvania County’s history, beauty, and growth.

The plan includes promoting each historic district in the city and county. It also includes plans to give local businesses more exposure through new regional maps, visit SoSi guides, and community engagement.

“Maybe they’re coming in for one particular thing, but they’re going to eat when they’re here, and they want to know where they can get a really cool, local experience. So, we want to make sure our retail partners are getting the exposure that they need and what else is there to see and do when they come into the community,” added Meriwether.

They will also host a local awareness campaign to get the word out about the plan to the citizens.

“We want them to be an extension to be a part of our tourism story. When it starts to grow, as they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. The increased revenues are going to come back into the community. Then, we’re going to be able to have more features and benefits that our own local community can have, like beautiful park enhancements and perhaps new businesses that can support them living and working here,” explained Meriwether.

They plan to renovate the Danville Welcome Center in the near future.

The Office of Economic Development and Tourism is also hiring and looking to fill four new positions.