Statewide data shows 3.3 percent revenue increase compared to 2015, outpacing national growth rate of 2.7 percent
Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that Virginia’s tourism revenue reached $24 billion in 2016, a 3.3 percent increase over 2015, outpacing the national growth rate of 2.7 percent. Visitor spending in Virginia supported 230,000 jobs, an increase of 2.8 percent, or 6,175 jobs, compared to 2015. The tourism industry also provided $1.7 billion in state and local revenue, an increase of 5.4 percent. Virginia welcomed more than 45 million visitors from across the United States last year.
“Virginia’s tourism industry had another banner year in 2016 as we welcomed a record number of visitors and significantly outpaced the national growth rate,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Tourism plays an important role in diversifying the new Virginia economy by supporting good jobs for our citizens and injecting millions of dollars into improving our communities. Virginia’s natural beauty, booming culinary scene, exciting outdoor recreation offerings, rich history, and robust arts culture make the Commonwealth a place that residents are proud to call home. But these things also make Virginia an attractive travel destination where visitors can discover why Virginia is for Lovers.”
In 2016, domestic travelers spent nearly $65 million per day across the Commonwealth. Employees in Virginia’s travel industry earned $5.7 billion in payroll income, representing a 5.9 percent increase over 2015. The largest increase in travel expenditures was in the food and lodging sectors, with a $630 million increase compared to 2015.
“Tourism is one of the five largest industries in Virginia and plays a critical role in our economic vitality,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “In addition to Virginia’s historic and globally recognized tourism attributes, the industry is consistently creating new and diverse product that is spurring economic growth and job creation across the Commonwealth. The revenue driven by tourism activity also makes it possible to bolster spending on public services like police, education, and health care.”
In April, Governor McAuliffe announced the economic impact of the agritourism sector in Virginia, a growing division of the tourism industry. The study, conducted by the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business, showed that Virginia’s agritourism industry accounts for $2.2 billion in economic activity. The report also showed that the economic activity attributed to the Commonwealth’s 1,400 agritourism businesses supports 22,000 jobs, contributes $840 million in income, and injects $135 million in state and local taxes. The study was the first statewide benchmark report to measure the economic and fiscal impacts of Virginia’s agritourism industry.
The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) is the state agency responsible for marketing Virginia as a premier travel destination and promoting the 48-year old “Virginia is for Lovers” brand, the longest-running state tourism slogan in the country. VTC operates as a fully-integrated marketing unit charged with increasing brand awareness through owned, earned, and paid media opportunities, as well as social media strategies.
VTC receives its annual economic impact data from the U.S. Travel Association. The information is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from per-person trips taken 50 miles or more away from home. Detailed economic impact data by locality will be available in the fall of 2017.
Plan your next vacation in Virginia. Visit www.virginia.org to discover why Virginia is for Lovers.
-Submitted by Charlotte Gomer