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Virginia’s artisan industry has a big impact

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The local economic impact of Virginia’s artisan industry was $572.2 million in 2014, according to a benchmark study.

Nearly 700,000 travelers visited Virginia's artisan attractions and businesses during the year, spending more than $250 million and supporting almost 12,000 full-time jobs throughout the commonwealth, the report says. The average visitor spent $260 per person, per trip.

Virginia artisans and associated businesses buy 47 percent of their supplies in commonwealth.

"This benchmark study validates what we have known for some time; that artisan entrepreneurship exists in abundance across the commonwealth and as a hard-working, talent-based industry made up of creative and agricultural businesses, is of growing significance on Virginia's economic landscape," Sherri Smith, executive director of the Artisans Center of Virginia, said in a statement.

The study found that one of seven Virginia visitors plan their trips around artisan trails. Artisan trail locations accounted for 59 percent of sales in 2014, and created a direct economic impact of $415,600 sales per day.  

The economic impact study by Richmond-based Chmura Economics & Analytics involved the Artisans Center of Virginia, 'Round Mountain: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Network and Virginia Tourism Corp.

"Virginia is a true destination for artisan culture and trails,"  Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corp., said in a statement.  "Travelers are coming from all over the country to experience our vineyards, farms, lodging, cultural points of interests, and local artisans. Our artisan trails provide many opportunities for visitors to connect with artisan businesses. This helps make Virginia a premier travel destination with a diverse array of tourism product."

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