Why is Loudoun tourism spending so high?

Tourism revenue in Loudoun County last year was up 61% from 2020 but more than half of that was in the “transportation” category.

To calculate tourism spending, the Virginia Tourism Corp. uses aviation-related spending at Dulles International Airport for visitors’ airport and passenger data, as well as any local transport services, including taxis and rental cars.

Tourism spending on transportation in Loudoun County totaled $1.7 billion in 2021 — out of just over $3 billion in overall tourism revenue.

“Dulles is an economic engine for the region and with Metro set to open, it will further connect Loudoun to the D.C. region and help drive more of that airport traffic through our restaurants, wineries, breweries, hotels and other attractions,” said Visit Loudoun President and CEO Beth Erickson.

“Even beyond the airport, the additional Loudoun Metro stops will bring a wave of new visitors into Loudoun who can now use public transportation to easily access D.C.’s Wine Country,” she said.

Because of Dulles International Airport’s location in Loudoun County, and the transportation spending included in tourism spending, Loudoun County is the largest tourism revenue generator in Virginia.

Last year, Visit Loudoun said tourism supported more than 13,500 jobs and $751 million in salaries and wages. It generated $108.9 million in local taxes and $55 million in state taxes.

Statewide, tourism spending supported 185,000 jobs in Virginia, $7.1 billion in salaries and wages, and $1.8 billion in state and local taxes in 2021.

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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