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State tourism revenue reaches $24 billion in 2016

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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.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday said those figures provide proof that tourism plays an important role in diversifying Virginia economy’s by supporting jobs and injecting millions of dollars into communities.

According to the governor’s office, visitor spending in Virginia supported 230,000 jobs last year, 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 U.S. last year.

In 2016, domestic travelers spent nearly $65 million per day in 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,” Todd Haymore, Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade, said in a statement.

The announcement comes on the heels of an earlier one by McAuliffe in April about the economic impact of the state’s agritourism sector, a growing division of the tourism industry. Conducted by the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business, the study showed that agritourism accounts for $2.2 billion in economic activity.

The report also noted 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 the agritourism industry.

The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), a state agency, 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.


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