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WHEREAS, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Virginia is for Lovers, the official tourism slogan of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the longest-running state tourism campaign in the United States; and
WHEREAS, Virginia is for Lovers was created in 1969 by the Martin & Woltz advertising agency of Richmond for the Virginia State Travel Service, a division of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Development; and
WHEREAS, the firm of Martin & Woltz was headed by its founders, David N. Martin, president, and George R. Woltz, vice-president and creative director, whose vision and artistic collaboration in producing the Virginia is for Lovers campaign changed the face of destination branding and helped to project an image of Virginia as a bold, progressive, and modern state; and
WHEREAS, since its inception, the iconic Virginia is for Lovers slogan has been embraced by the state's tourism, travel, and hospitality industries to market the cultural, historic, natural, educational, and recreational assets of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, Virginia is for Lovers represents a love of life and a passion for travel and remains one of the most recognizable, enduring, and imitated tourism slogans in the nation; and
WHEREAS, in recognition of its superior brand equity, in 2009, Virginia is for Lovers was selected by Forbes.com as one of the top ten tourism marketing campaigns of all time, and was inducted into the National Advertising Hall of Fame on Madison Avenue in New York; and
WHEREAS, tourism is a vital component of Virginia's diverse economy, a cornerstone of the Commonwealth's vibrant quality of life, and a catalyst for economic growth, opportunity, entrepreneurship, job creation, and community revitalization; and
WHEREAS, in 2018, the travel industry ranked as the fifth-largest private employer in the Commonwealth, generating $26 billion in visitor spending, supporting 234,000 work opportunities in our communities, and contributing $1.8 billion in state and local taxes; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Tourism Authority, owner of the Virginia is for Lovers slogan, was established by the General Assembly on July 1, 1999, to stimulate the tourism industry in the Commonwealth, support the development of local tourism marketing programs, and increase the prosperity and welfare of the people of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Tourism Authority works to extend the appeal, reach, and impact of the Virginia is for Lovers brand around the world to market the Commonwealth as a premier travel destination;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize June 21, 2019, as the 50th ANNIVERSARY OF VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.