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Map to help boost already increasing heritage tourism

By Staff | May 19, 2011

Shepherdstown tourism is predicted to boost after being selected out of 500 nominated Civil War historic sites to be featured in American Heritage Magazine, which has a readership of over 500,000.

“The goal is to maximize the revenue stream for travel- and tourism-related businesses and diversify local economies while offering travelers experiences that are both enjoyable and educational,” said state Division of Tourism marketing specialist Justin Gaull.

The “Civil War: On the Homefront” map is designed to stimulate economic growth to Appalachia by advertising the diversity of Appalachia’s Civil War attractions.

“While most Civil War stories focus on battles and military history, few narratives have been fully shared about how families, farms and livelihoods were affected by the war. The map-guide highlights attractions away from the battlefields heritage farms, restored homes and historic downtowns, national parks and memorials, living history museums,” according to the Appalachia Regional Commission.

ARC is partnership between the federal government and the 13 Appalachian states created to attempt to assist the people of Appalachia reach socio-economic parity with the rest of the nation. The region, defined by Congress, includes 21 million people in 410 counties spread across parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and all of West Virginia.

Shepherdstown, featured alongside 150 Civil War Historic sites – including two others in Jefferson County, was chosen due to the battle of Antietam when over 8,000 soldiers flooded the city after the battle. There is also a graveyard in Shepherdstown that holds over 250 soldiers killed in the battle at Antietam Creek.

Shepherdstown Visitor Center Executive Director Keyrouze said local sites include the Shepherdstown Historic District – including sites such as Rumsey Monument, the Little House, the Tobacco Warehouse and the Historic Shepherdstown Museum, Harpers Ferry and the Belle Boyd House in Martinsburg.

ARC will work with many of the sites to gather information about any increases in the volume of travelers, revenues generated, inquiries made and other effects attributable to this project in order to assess the impact on the local and regional economies.

According to U.S. Travel Association estimates of direct impact, tourism is a $704.4 billion industry employing more than 7.4 million people in the country in 2010. The cultural heritage tourism sector has grown twice as fast as the overall travel market, and Appalachia boasts six of the top 10 states most visited by travelers from this sector.

Cultural and heritage visitors spend, on average, $994 per trip compared to $611 for all U.S. travelers. Perhaps the biggest benefits of cultural heritage tourism, though, are diversification of local economies and preservation of a community’s unique character.

And Keyrouze believes Shepherdstown’s addition to this map will increase tourism to the town.

“With the 150th commemoration of the Civil War, we are already experiencing people traveling from site to site, this map will definitely enhance this to increase our number of tourists,” Keyrouze said.

“Civil War: The Home Front” is available as a free insert in the Spring 2011 issue of American Heritage Magazine as well as ARC’s 13 state tourism offices to targeted traveler mailing lists, regional welcome centers and trade shows. It is also available at . Building on the print map this site features additional information for travelers interested in visiting the 150 Civil-War related attractions on the map-guide.