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Destination Bedford!

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By Nicole S. Johnson
Director of Tourism

    Tourism is a dynamic and competitive industry that requires consistent engagement and investment. 
    One of the major projects the staff at the Welcome Center has taken on in the past year is brand development for Bedford Tourism. This included becoming familiar with the unique strengths and assets of Bedford, conducting surveys of local stakeholders and visitors, exploring the county through in-person site visits, and doing research to understand the history, geography, demographics, and visitor profiles.  The goal is to have consistent messaging across all mediums and promote Bedford as a destination for more than just a day trip. 
    Bedford County is the fifth largest county in Virginia, and has significant tourism attractions to include the Peaks of Otter and Blue Ridge Parkway, Smith Mountain Lake, National D-Day Memorial, Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, and the Town of Bedford. Each of these attractions contribute to bringing visitors into Bedford County, and with the addition of wineries, agri-tourism, arts, culture and outdoor recreation, Bedford County has a lot to offer visitors. 
    The county has no cities, urban centers or interstate highways, but is centrally located between Roanoke and Lynchburg.  Views of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains loom large from almost every vantage point in Bedford County.  The mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Smith Mountain Lake all add up to extensive outdoor recreation opportunities. 
    There is a heritage of agriculture in Bedford County, which today includes numerous family-run orchards and wineries.  Bedford County’s role in American and world history is profound and includes a beloved home of a famous founding father, and a small town’s sacrifice to the most momentous battle of World War II.  Because the brand is not built around one attraction, we want to help visitors see Bedford’s major tourism attractors as a group of experiences that together make a strong case for visiting.  
    The Bedford County Department of Tourism was awarded a marketing leverage grant of $42,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation earlier this year, and these funds will be used towards the launch of the new branding campaign.  Going forward, Bedford County Tourism will be using “Destination Bedford Virginia” in the new logo, print and digital ads, visitor brochures, website, and marketing videos.  We look forward to sharing these assets with the community very soon, and hope you will be as excited about the new brand as we are! 
    Now that it is spring, I hope everyone will get outside and enjoy all that Bedford has to offer!