Virginia By The Numbers


Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced recently that overseas visitor spending in the Commonwealth for 2012 hit a record of $425 million, a 9% increase over 2011. The state also welcomed increased visitation and spending by Canadian visitors in 2012, with overnight visitation up 3% (to 651,500) and spending up more than 4%, totalling nearly $155 million.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, the Survey of International Air Travelers, and Statistics Canada provide the annual economic data.

Canada remains the top International country-of-visitor origin for Virginia with 50% of all person trips coming from Ontario followed by the secondary market in Quebec at 39%.

During his term, Governor McDonnell placed a high importance on hospitality, tourism, wine, and film by promoting it across the country and around the world. The governor promoted tourism during his international marketing missions to Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Israel, India, China and South Korea.

“Once again, our tourism industry is moving full speed ahead, providing instant revenue and quality jobs for Virginians,” said Governor McDonnell. “Tourism is a force that helps drive Virginia as a leading destination for visitors from around the world, while also generating economic and community benefits for the residents and businesses of the Commonwealth. The record growth we are seeing year after year in tourism revenue reaffirms my administration’s investment in tourism marketing as a smart economic development initiative.”

Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation, observed: “These numbers show that our efforts to attract visitors to the Commonwealth are proving successful and have had a large and positive impact on our economy and jobs. This report also reinforces that investing in tourism is investing in Virginia. Travel promotion is a wise strategic investment, as it kicks off a virtuous cycle of increased travel visits, greater traveller spending in local businesses, faster job creation, and higher tax revenues that far surpass the initial investment. Today, we celebrate the clear economic benefit of travel and tourism in Virginia.”

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