LEXINGTON -Rockbridge Regional Tourism approved a recovery plan to boost its marketing after The Red Hen restaurant controversy brought a slew of negative national media coverage this summer.
The regional tourism board, with members from Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County, met with the Lexington City Council on Thursday for an update on tourism initiatives and numbers.
The board had initially approved the recovery plan soon after news of The Red Hen controversy was spreading across the country. At the end of June, the restaurant’s owner declined to serve presidential press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders when she visited the restaurant.
Sanders tweeted the day after the incident that she had been asked to leave because she works for President Donald Trump. Soon after, Lexington was flooded with protestors who stood outside the restaurant, chanted and held signs. Others posted both positive and negative reviews of the restaurant online.
All three localities met and decided to pull together emergency funds to increase digital marketing and spread positive messages of the area, especially Lexington, which brings in the largest number of tourists.
Rockbridge Regional Tourism agreed to spend an additional $5,000 per month from the office’s emergency fund from July through September.
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