<strong>WVPA Staff Report<\/strong>\r\n<h1>Calling on the tourism professionals attending the 8th Annual West Virginia Hospitality University to be \u201cplayers\u201d in making the state\u2019s tourism industry more successful, Gov. Jim Justice said he is \u201cpassionate\u201d about building the tourism industry in West Virginia and is with them in the effort.<\/h1>\r\nNoting his experience with operating The Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs, Justice said he now wants to serve as a \u201ccoach\u201d and has the experience and vision to know the value of tourism.\r\n\r\n\u201cNo one will support your industry more than me. No one will believe in it more than me. \u2026 Tourism is absolutely a real opportunity within this state, and we (the Justice administration) believe it enough now to put a little bit of our money where our mouth is,\u201d Justice said, adding tourism \u201chas so much to bring to this state.\u201d\r\n\r\nBringing out a little news of his own, Justice said state tourism officials will soon unveil a new advertising slogan for the state; however, he provided no details. Justice said he is asking the West Virginia Legislature for $20 million for a tourism marketing budget because the return on investment on tourism advertising is $8 for every $1 invested.\r\n\r\nThe 2017 Roads to Prosperity bond program to improve West Virginia\u2019s roads - including those to the state\u2019s tourism facilities - and this year\u2019s $20 million budget request are \u201ctools\u201d to help the \u201cplayers\u201d in the tourism industry succeed.\r\n\r\n\u201cYou need to be players and bring real ideas to the Legislators and me,\u201d Justice said, \u201cand put those ideas into motion \u2026, working on opportunities that will make West Virginia greater.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cYou have to have the determination \u2026 when you hit a walk not to just lay down and let that be it,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\n\u201cYou are going to show the world just how great West Virginia is,\u201d Justice said, \u201cI love you for it because I think your industry has so much to bring to this state.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Governor joined with West Virginia Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby and tourism industry leaders including Chris Richards, president of WVHTA; Frank Jorgensen, chairman of WVHTA; and Carol Fulks, executive director of the WVHTA, in welcoming the tourism professionals who are gathered at The Greenbrier through Monday afternoon for three days of meetings, educational seminars, training, recognition and awards.\r\n\r\nThose attending heard legislative updates and discussed tourism issues with legislator leaders including Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson; Sen. Charlie Trump, R-Morgan; Sen. Mark Maynard, R-Wayne; and Delegates Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan;\u00a0 Gary Howell, R-Mineral; and Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha.\r\n\r\nHospitality University concluded Jan. 28 with educational seminars and an awards ceremony.