Franklin, Southampton promote agriculture to boost tourism

FRANKLIN—Leaders in the city of Franklin and Southampton County planted a seed in 2008 to boost and diversify their local economy.

City and county officials have approved creation of a Tourism Strategic Plan and Tourism Steering Committee after a year and a half of study.

"We found that one of the best ways to do this was by celebrating all the things our area has to offer tourists," explained Tommy Miller, business development manager at the Franklin-Southampton Economic Development office. "We have eclectic dining and shopping, many festivals and concerts, three rivers to enjoy, and of course, agriculture, which is rich in history to our area."

Agriculture is the county’s leading industry. "We have more Century Farms than any other area in the state," Miller said. "We have an agriculture museum in Courtland that has more than 6,000 artifacts. We have been fortunate to have so many amazing farms that are in our area, providing fresh and locally grown foods to both tourists and residents."

The in-depth planning process was a joint effort of the Franklin-Southampton Economic Development office, the Franklin-Southampton Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Franklin Association, Virginia Tourism Corp. and stakeholders in the community. The Tourism Strategic Plan was presented in March.

Details of the plan are available at

Contact Miller at 757-556-5433 or Sherri McKinney, VFBF senior video producer, at 804-290-1148.

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