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Local Visitor Center garners honor from state association

SoVaNow.com / April 17, 2014
The South Boston/Halifax County Visitor Center has received the “Visitor Center of the Year” award given annually by the Virginia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (VACVB).

Linda Shepperd on Monday night told South Boston Council members that the Center serves as a clearinghouse for events that happen in the community and it strives to represent the interests of all the community, whether it be agritourism, racing or the arts.

“We are always looking for ways to benefit the businesses that exist in our community,” Shepperd said. “The Visitor Center is not just for the traveling public, but it is a community based service. We know that our local people are our best ambassadors and we do what we can to keep the community informed about what is going on.”

She explained that the Center has received 15,000 visitors since opening on March 15, 2012 with visitation increasing by 30 percent in 2013 over that of the previous year with gift shop and ticket sales (of wine, books, art, jewelry, pottery, etc.) growing by 100 percent in 2013 over the same period.

The Center also provides conference room and meeting space for community events.

The Center also nominated the Halifax County Heritage and Antique Machinery Festival for the Heritage Tourism Event of the Year — and they won.

Presenters of that award noted that despite declining festival attendance across the board, the Heritage Fest has increased its attendance and has grown ten times its size in ten years, going from a one day festival with 500 in attendance to a three day event bringing in more than 5,000 visitors.

Furthermore the Heritage Fest gives back a lot to the community, donating some $20,000 to Halifax County Schools and the Halifax County Educational Foundation for scholarships and grants.

They have also spent nearly $35,000 on improvements to the fairgrounds property and needed equipment. One source of their greatest pride is their partnership with other civic organizations, such as the Ruritans, Lions and local fire departments which provide food sales, man the ticket booths, park cars and do other needed jobs during the event.

The Virgo Travel & Tourism Awards Program is held each year and is open to individuals, businesses, organization or other entities located in Virginia. The VACVB has 91 members representing 50 different organizations across the state.

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