Virginia's newest tourism campaign is focused on getting travelers off their couches and into their cars for an "Old School" road trip.
State officials launched the new campaign Thursday in Norfolk at Doumar's Barbecue and Cones, which claims to be the inventor of the ice cream cone. Doumar's is one of the featured destinations in a series of road-trip ideas focused on old-fashioned diners and classic drive-ins.
Rita McClenny, interim president of the Virginia Tourism Corportation, called Doumar's a Virginia institution and said the campaign would evoke a sense of nostalgia.
"There's so many places and things that people see across the country that bring back memories, memories of when you were growing up, things that you did as a child," she said in the parking lot of the curbside-service diner near downtown. "We're hoping that this campaign will encourage families to join in, do things together, have these unique experiences, tell their friends."
The solely online campaign also provides itineraries for road trips focused on wineries and breweries, music venues and roadside attractions throughout the state. In total, there are 30 road trip itineraries on the Virginia Tourism Corporation's website at www.virginia.org/OldSchool .
"We feel like it might be a bit of a younger demographic that might be interested in this," said Virginia Tourism Corporation spokeswoman Tamra Talmadge-Anderson. "We're trying to promote music sites, so Spotify makes sense. Same with Pandora."
Tourism officials are hoping the campaign will capitalize on declining gas prices and a trend toward more vacations being planned only a few weeks ahead of time instead of several months.
"Road trips really lead well into that kind of short planning," Talmadge-Anderson said.
The featured destinations — which include a giant pencil in Wytheville, Natural Bridge in Shenandoah Valley and Arlington National Cemetery — were chosen in coordination with regional travel partners.