Visit West Virginia’s Lisa Strader named tourism professional of the year for state

Visit Southern West Virginia’s executive director, Lisa Strader, was named West Virginia Tourism Professional of the Year at the 2022 Stars of Almost Heaven Awards.

The ceremony was held on Sept. 15, 2022, during the 2022 Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Huntington, W.Va.

The Stars of Almost Heaven awards are a way to recognize industry partners from across the state for outstanding achievements in advertising, marketing and public relations, as well as contributions to the tourism industry in West Virginia. 

Strader was appointed the executive director of Visit Southern West Virginia in 2019. 

In addition to Strader’s award, Visit Southern West Virginia, in partnership with Greenbrier Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, Explore Summers County, and Adventures on the Gorge, received the Overall Earned Media award. 

During this year’s ceremony, the 2021 winners were also honored. Visit Southern West Virginia received two awards: Best Co-Op Ad, in partnership with Greenbrier Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau, Summersville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Adventures on the Gorge, and the Governor’s Award for Regional Cooperation, in partnership with Greenbrier Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, Explore Summers County and Adventures on the Gorge.


The West Virginia Waterfall Trail continues to be a success and has now received over 20,000 participant check-ins since its initial launch in early June., according to the state’s Department of Tourism.

The trail has received check-ins from visitors from over 41 states and 15 countries. Nearly 3,000 exclusive waterfall trail prizes have been shipped to participants so far.

“Our research continues to be proven true – folks really love waterfalls and I believe we have some of the best here in Almost Heaven,” said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. 

The West Virginia Waterfall Trail is a hit among locals and visitors alike with 69 percent of check-ins coming from West Virginia residents and the remaining 31 percent from surrounding states such as Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

The five most visited falls on the trail are Kanawha Falls, Cathedral Falls, Blackwater Falls, Elakala Falls and Mill Creek Falls of Hawks Nest, which together account for over 1,000 of the total check-ins.


Appalachian Power’s parent company has named a new president and chief operating officer to oversee services in West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.

Aaron Walker succeeds Chris Beam, who is assuming the role of American Electric Power’s executive vice president of energy services. Walker will lead Appalachian Power’s efforts regarding operations, safety, external affairs and customer services.

Compiled by The Register-Herald.

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