Governor Bob McDonnell’s recent announcement that tourism in Virginia became a $21 billion industry in 2012 was good economic news in Virginia Beach and the Commonwealth as a whole. Data released by the United States Travel Association (USTA) reveals that tourism revenue for Virginia Beach reached $1.28 billion, a 5 percent increase over 2011. Every locality in Virginia posted an increase in tourism revenue last year.
According to the USTA, tourism in Virginia generated $21.2 billion in revenue, a four percent increase over 2011. Tourism also supported 210,000 jobs in the Commonwealth and provided $1.36 billion in state and local taxes. In terms of those numbers, tourism is the third largest industry in Virginia.
Tourism was again an important contributor to Virginia Beach’s local economy in 2012. Virginia Beach ranked fourth in all the localities in travel expenditures. Local tourism-supported jobs totaled 12,025 while local and state tourism-related taxes derived from activity in Virginia Beach were over $100 million. All data was received by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) from USTA and is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from trips taken 50 miles or more away from home.
“Tourism is the second largest revenue driver in Virginia Beach, which ultimately supports a better quality of life for our citizens,” said James B. Ricketts, director of the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB.) “The CVB will continue showcasing our incredible destination and attracting visitors throughout the United States and the world to create more jobs and maximize our tax revenue.”
“Tourism plays a key role in our economic development and growth in the Commonwealth, providing valuable jobs for citizens and stimulating business of all sizes,” said
Governor McDonnell. “During my administration, I have made tourism a fundamental part of my economic development initiatives. The data released today shows once again that tourism provides a tremendous return on investment, and continues to provide jobs—210,000 of them—to the citizens of Virginia.”
“Tourism is an instant revenue generator for the Commonwealth. 2012 was a banner year for travel and hospitality in Virginia, and we were pleased to see such continued improvement in our tourism economy,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of VTC. “Tourism is a driving force of Virginia’s economy – it creates jobs, generates economic impact, and benefits businesses and communities across the state. We are fortunate to have a governor and members of the General Assembly who recognize the importance of investing in an industry that continues to grow and strengthen our economy.”
The Virginia Beach CVB is responsible for promoting year-round leisure, business and international travel to Virginia’s largest city. In 2009 it launched the evolution of its brand, “Live the Life,” which focuses on the emotions visitors feel when they leave their day-to-day lives and worries behind, and simply experience the joy of a Virginia Beach vacation. In 2012, the new “Love the Moment” campaign was launched to support and enhance the “Live the Life” brand. It was designed to remind vacationers of the inherent value found in the uniquely good times they can have in Virginia Beach and the lifelong memories they can make there. The Virginia Beach CVB was honored as the 2012 Destination Marketing Organization of the Year Shining Example winner by the Southeast Tourism Society.
The VTC is the state agency responsible for marketing Virginia to visitors and promoting the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand. “Virginia is for Lovers” is the longest-running state tourism slogan in the country. “Virginia is for Lovers” stands for love, pure and simple, and promotes the state as the ideal destination for loved ones to completely connect on a great vacation. “Virginia is for Lovers” was named one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all time by Forbes and was inducted into the National Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009.