- Associated Press - Monday, June 5, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia’s tourism commissioner is asking people who love the state to post selfies and messages on social media telling why for the next two weeks.

Commissioner Chelsea Ruby says the state’s 154th birthday falls June 20, inviting residents and visitors to list reasons they find West Virginia exceptional.

The Division of Tourism plans to do it daily on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter starting Tuesday with the hashtag #AlmostHeaven.

Framed as a competition for fun, she says it’s also serious since the state has been held back by an image problem, with “much of the world … blinded by ugly stereotypes perpetuated by folks who’ve never set foot within our borders.”

With social media now influencing travel planning, she says posts will grow West Virginia’s tourism industry.

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