ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Downtown Roanoke Inc. launched a new way for locals and potential visitors to view what the Star City has to offer.

Its new virtual tour platform provides an easy way for people to explore and familiarize themselves with Downtown Roanoke. The platform features more than 50 businesses and offers panoramic views that allow people to see the area in great detail.

“There is essentially three areas of downtown that we have currently highlighted, but you can click into any of those areas, and it will show you what’s nearby parking, restaurants, attractions, retail and I also do have a lot of historic before and after photos that you can see as well,” said Jamie Clark, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Downtown Roanoke Inc.

She added that weekday traffic downtown is still slow but local businesses said they have had record-breaking weekends over the past several months.

“We certainly hope that it will encourage people to you know come downtown. I think it’s a different and unique way to interact with the downtown area you know before you step foot down here,” said Clark.

Local businesses agree. Elliot Broyles the Executive Director of the Market Building Foundation said they have seen about a 20% increase in door count traffic this year compared to 2022.

“It’s really just an awesome feature something that I think you see in bigger cities and something that I think Roanoke deserves and I hope it increases traffic, increases visitation from other places in the state and other regions,” said Broyles.

Other businesses that have opened in the past year also said business has been spectacular and they are excited about what the virtual tour platform will bring.

“We have a lot of folks that come through here sometimes on their last day in town so they didn’t know this hotel was an option or they didn’t know dinner here was an option and letting people again kind of browse the city before they make those plans, I think will only kind of help us with our reservations,” said Nick Guacheta the Executive Director of Sales and Development at Txtur.

Downtown Roanoke Inc. hopes to continue to expand the tour to other areas in Roanoke and create additional tours that incorporate property development and available office spaces.

You can click here to do the tour.