Tourism was again an important contributor to the local economy in 2016 according to data released by the United States Travel Association. Tourism revenue for the combined Winchester-Frederick area reached $248.4 million, a 3.9 percent increase over 2015.
Local tourism-supported jobs totaled 2,420 while local tourism-related taxes totaled $8.0 million in 2016. In the combined Shenandoah Valley region, stretching from Winchester to Lexington, tourism spending increased 4.4% to $1.4 billion and contributed 13,500 jobs to the local economy. On average, 1 out of every 6 tourism dollars spent in the entire Shenandoah Valley was spent in the Winchester-Frederick County area.
“We are fortunate in our area to have a diverse and growing tourism product, including business, leisure, special event, wedding and government travel,” said Justin Kerns, Executive Director of the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “With our new branding and ad campaign rolling out in mid-2017 and a concerted effort with local partners to bring in more travel writers for greater exposure, we look forward to doing our part in contributing to the success for our local businesses through tourism.”
According to the US Travel Association, tourism in Virginia generated $24 billion in travel spending. Tourism also supported 230,000 jobs in the Commonwealth and $1.7 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 much more.
“Tourism is one of Virginia’s largest private sector industries, injecting critical dollars into our communities statewide,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “The tourism industry supports local businesses, services, and infrastructure, and is an important contributor to job creation. Communities all across Virginia continue to develop new tourism product, making the Commonwealth one of the most exciting and compelling destinations in the world.”
About the Virginia Tourism Corporation
The Virginia Tourism Corporation is the state agency responsible for marketing Virginia to visitors and promoting the Virginia is for Lovers brand. Virginia is for Lovers is the longest-running state tourism slogan in the country. Virginia is for Lovers stands for love, pure and simple, and promotes the state as the ideal destination for loved ones to completely connect on a great vacation. Virginia is for Lovers was named one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all time by Forbes and was inducted into the National Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009.
The Virginia Tourism Corporation receives its annual economic impact data from the U.S. Travel Association. The information is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from per-person trips taken 50 miles or more away from home. Detailed economic impact data by locality is available on www.vatc.org under Research.