588: Virginia is For Lovers with Rita McClenny


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In today’s episode of the As Told by Nomads Podcast, join me and my guest, Rita McClenny, as we talk about the state of Virginia’s rich history and the diverse community it fosters today. Rita serves as the president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, a state agency charged with marketing the Commonwealth as a premier travel destination and film location. Their mission is to expand domestic and international inbound travel and motion picture production to generate revenue and employment in their state. Today, Rita also shares her thoughts on traveling in 2021 and how Virginia stepped up, becoming a leading destination in the United States.

Virginia Is For Lovers

Rita believes that love always wins over hate. But, for “love” to prevail, we need to pour it out into the world, so it can keep growing. And so, at the Virginia Tourism Corporation, their mission is to tell authentic experiences from the state’s past so that people can learn from them and pass these stories on to future generations. After all, the past becomes a reflection of the future if we choose to ignore it. But once we have acknowledged it, a new and possibly brighter future is born. But again, we have to keep with the circle of love and light for this to be possible. Hence, Rita and her team always make sure that Virginia is a safe place for everyone. They welcome anyone with any combination of travel experience in hopes that they could find something to love in Virginia. There, everyone stands for love, equality, and inclusion. They even have a DEI statement in VTC because they believe in it. And they are always happy to show you through their diverse community and rich history. So, if you are looking to travel to Virginia soon, check out their website in the links below! And soon enough, when you get there, you will see why Virginia is for lovers.

Outline of the episode:

  • [03:33] How Virginia evolved to telling authentic experiences in its history
  • [05:47] How the state became a leading destination, especially for black travelers
  • [06:45] Rita’s plans for the VTC as the travel industry rebounds amid the pandemic
  • [10:45] Virginia being a prime place for filmmakers and storytellers to visualize their stories
  • [12:58] The valuable role of tourism and film in the rehabilitation of the state’s economy
  • [14:32] Where history started and how terrain played a role in America’s growth
  • [16:30] What advice Rita has for female travelers and leaders alike in these trying times
  • [18:19] Her life growing up and what led her to pursue tourism
  • [23:06] The value of word-of-mouth after providing a good experience in tourism
  • [24:56] What the future looks like for people of color in Virginia
  • [26:08] How love always wins despite media choosing to show hateful deeds


Website: https://www.vatc.org/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rita-mcclenny-29482186/

Connect with Tayo Rockson and the As Told By Nomads Podcast on:

Personal Website: https://tayorockson.com

UYD Management: https://uydmanagement.com/

UYD Collective: https://tayorockson.com/uyd-collective

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tayorockson


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