Data released by the United States Travel Association (USTA) reveals that all regions in Virginia posted an increase in tourism revenue last year, including Winchester-Frederick County.
Tourism was an important contributor to the local economy in 2017. Tourism revenue for the combined Winchester-Frederick County area reached $259.1 million, a 4.3 percent change over 2016. Local tourism-supported jobs totaled 2,456 while local tourism-related taxes were $8.2 million.
“This data reinforces what we have already seen from our lodging properties, restaurants and attractions for 2017,” said Justin Kerns, Executive Director of the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “While these numbers can seem large and hard to understand, just look at the fact that Winchester and Frederick County together has nearly 2,600 hotel rooms and the hotels are, on average, 67% full every night. Lodging revenues alone totaled $49 million in 2017. While in town, tourists who either stay in hotels or just come for the day spend money on meals, attractions, shopping and gas. Tourism is a significant daily contributor to our local community.” See the attached 2017 Combined Tourism Economic Fact Sheet for more information.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism in Virginia generated $25 billion in travel spending. Tourism also supported 232,000 jobs in the Commonwealth and $1.73 billion in state and local taxes. The increase is largely attributed to Virginia’s tourism development all around the state, including: new hotels, restaurants, agritourism, craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, cideries, sports, outdoor recreation, festivals and events, music venues, wedding venues, meeting and convention venues, attractions and so much more. Virginia’s changing tourism product makes the Commonwealth a destination for authentic travel experiences and thriving communities.
The hotel industry had a robust year with all performance indicators rising in 2017. Both room demand and supply grew by 1.7% and 0.9% respectively. Average daily rates in Virginia hotels reached $109.66, an increase of 2.2%, improving RevPAR (revenue per available room) by 2.9%. The occupancy percentages (percentage of available rooms that were sold) were 63.9%.
“Virginia’s tourism industry is an important diversifier for our economy as it continues to grow and flourish in multiple regions of our Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “Travelers are coming to Virginia from across the country and the globe to experience our rich historic attractions, unmatched outdoor recreation offerings, eight oyster regions, world-class food and craft beverages, beautiful landscapes, and exciting arts and culture. These visitors are spending millions of dollars a day, injecting critical funds back into our community coffers and helping to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”
“Our tourism industry is an important and vital component of economic growth and job creation in Virginia,” said Brian Ball, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “As the tourism sector continues to grow and new product is developed, our communities across the state become even more dynamic and vibrant. Tourism is fortifying towns and cities across the Commonwealth, engaging and unifying our communities, and making it easy to for travelers to discover for themselves why Virginia is for Lovers.”
For a video on Virginia’s record-breaking year, click here. The Virginia Tourism Corporation is the state agency responsible for marketing Virginia to visitors and promoting the Virginia is for Lovers brand.
Data Source: All data was received by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) from U.S. Travel Association and is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from trips taken 50 miles or more away from home. Detailed economic impact data by locality is available on www.vatc.org under Research.