RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Virginia is cashing in on its history and beauty. The Governor’s Office announced Virginia tourists generated $21.2 billion in revenue in 2012. A record high, according to the Governor, and a four percent increase over 2011.
“Tourists from around the country and the world are being drawn to Virginia to walk in the footsteps of Lincoln, participate and learn from our ongoing Civil War Sesquicentennial events, visit our increasingly globally recognized vineyards and enjoy all that this great state has to offer from Atlantic Ocean beaches to Appalachian mountains,” Governor Bob McDonnell said during an event on Brown’s Island in Richmond.
Tourism in Virginia helped to support 210,000 jobs over the year. The governor said those jobs provided more than $1.36 billion in state and local taxes.
“Tourism is an instant revenue generator for the Commonwealth. 2012 was a banner year for travel and hospitality in Virginia, and we were pleased to see such continued improvement in our tourism economy,” Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, said in a statement. “Tourism is a driving force of Virginia’s economy–it creates jobs, generates economic impact, and benefits businesses and communities across the state.”
The Governor’s Office noted tourism dollars coming into the state have grown each year of McDonnell’s term — up 12.3 percent since 2010.
“We’ve worked with leaders from both parties to invest wisely in this growth industry and make it an integral part of our overall economic development strategies and policy. That investment is clearly paying off,” McDonnell said. “I congratulate all the Virginians involved in our tourism industry for their great work to set this new state record.”