Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced that tourism spending by overseas travelers in Virginia increased by more than 12 percent in 2010. New figures released by Capital Region USA (CRUSA) show international tourism spending was a record $321 million in 2010, up $35 million from 2009.
Additionally, Virginia's efforts to market to visitors from Canada are providing direct benefits to the Commonwealth. New results show that in 2010 direct spending by Canadian visitors showed an even greater increase as nearly 575,000 Canadians traveled to Virginia and spent more than $133 million, a 16.6% increase in spending over 2009.
"Tourism is an instant revenue generator that keeps our economy moving and employs hundreds of thousands of Virginians," said Governor McDonnell. "These new figures show that Virginia is doing an excellent job in reaching out to international travelers and positioning Virginia as a premier travel destination."
CRUSA is the official regional destination marketing organization promoting Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia internationally. Its primary markets are the United Kingdom and Germany, both of which supply large numbers of visitors to Virginia each year. The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, Destination DC and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority are the supporting partners of the organization which is chaired by Diane Bechamps, vice president of marketing for VTC.
Canada is Virginia's top international market and VTC employs a targeted marketing strategy aimed at Canadian visitors. The great majority of those visitors come from the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, which are the primary targets for VTC's Canadian marketing initiatives.
"This increase in international visitors is a strong indication that Virginia's tourism marketing is right on track," said Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of VTC. "Our partnership with Maryland and Washington, D.C. is a smart investment for Virginia tourism that is making a significant contribution to Virginia's economy."
Tourism is one of Virginia's largest industries, generating more than $17 billion in revenue, supporting 204,500 jobs and providing $1.24 billion in state and local taxes for the Commonwealth annually. For more information on traveling in Virginia, visit www.Virginia.org or call toll free 1-800-VISITVA.