Northern Va. accounts for 40% of tourist spending in state

All five Northern Virginia counties rank among the top 10 in the commonwealth for tourism. (Wilsilver77 /iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Virginia’s tourism industry generated a record $26 billion in tourist spending in 2018 — and 40% of that, or $10.3 billion, was spent in Northern Virginia.

Both Arlington and Loudoun counties had record years for tourism last year.

Arlington County, Fairfax County and Loudoun County rank as the top three counties in Virginia for individual tourism spending. All five Northern Virginia Counties rank among the top 10 in the commonwealth for tourism.

Each county has its own tourism marketing offices. But they also pull together to market the region through the Northern Virginia Tourism Partnership, which includes marketing organizations from Alexandria and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William.

“Each of our destinations has its own truly unique array of visitor experiences, from iconic attractions to hotels, shopping, culinary adventures, arts, recreation and more,” said Emily Cassell, president of the Northern Virginia Tourism Partnership.

“Promoting Northern Virginia together as a region helps visitors fully experience the area’s great offerings and is an even bigger win for us and for the commonwealth,” she said.

Tourism accounted for more than 91,400 jobs in Northern Virginia in 2018.

Among the newest additions to tourist attractions in Northern Virginia will be the Tall Ship Providence, a replica of an 18th-century ship, that opens to the public in Old Town Alexandria this fall, and the National Museum of the United States Army, which opens on the public grounds of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County in June 2020.

Tourism is the fifth-largest employer in Virginia, supporting 234,000 jobs statewide, according to the Virginia Tourism Corp. Domestic tourists spend roughly $71 million a day in Virginia.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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