Tourism spending in Virginia was a record $25B in 2017

WASHINGTON — It was another record year for “Virginia is for Lovers,” with tourism revenue reaching $25 billion in 2017, the eighth consecutive year of rising tourism spending.

Spending was up 4.4 percent over 2016. Domestic visitors spent about $68 million a day in Virginia last year.

Virginia Tourism Corporation says tourism supported 232,000 jobs in the Commonwealth in 2017, $5.9 billion in salaries and wages, and $1.73 billion in state and local taxes.

All Virginia localities saw an increase in tourism spending.

Arlington County reached $3.3 billion in domestic travel spending, the most out of Virginia’s 133 counties and independent cities. Fairfax County followed at $3.2 billion; Loudoun County ranked third, with $1.8 billion.

“Loudoun is unique in its diversity of product. Our equestrian experiences, craft-beverage and restaurant scene, agriculture and historic attractions and outdoor recreation assets, make us a very attractive destination to leisure and business travelers as well as those coming to Loudoun for sporting events, meetings or weddings,” said VisitLoudoun president and CEO Beth Erickson.

Virginia Beach City was fourth, with $1.6 billion in tourism spending.

Visitors spent $7.4 billion at Virginia restaurants, bars and other food service spots, the largest single expenditure category. Spending on lodging was $4.9 billion.

Aside from its history-related attractions, Virginia is drawing tourists for agritourism, craft breweries and wineries, festivals and meeting and convention events.

The “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan will mark its 50th anniversary next year, the longest-running state tourism slogan in the country.

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