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Governor Northam says tourism revenues reach $26 billion in Virginia in 2018

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RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s tourism industry generated $26 billion in visitor spending across all communities in 2018, a 4.4 percent increase over 2017.

In 2018, tourism in Virginia supported 234,000 jobs for Virginia communities, a 1% increase from 2017. The tourism industry also provided $1.8 billion in state and local revenue, an increase of 2.9% compared to 2017.

The travel industry is the fifth largest employer in Virginia.

“Virginia’s tourism industry continues to transform communities across the Commonwealth by stimulating our local economies, generating positive growth, and creating jobs and opportunity for our citizens,” said Governor Northam. “From coast to cliff, Virginia’s rich history, charming small towns, booming culinary scene, beautiful mountain vistas, and warm, sunny beaches have positioned the Commonwealth to be a premier travel destination in the United States. As we look ahead to the next 50 years, we invite visitors from across the country and the around the world to discover for themselves why Virginia is for Lovers.”

The iconic slogan “Virginia is for Lovers,” was developed in 1969 by Richmond-based advertising firm Martin & Woltz (now the Martin Agency). Destinations across the Commonwealth are participating in the commemoration of 50 Years of LOVE, and celebrating the important impact tourism has on Virginia’s economy and communities. Over the past 50 years, the tourism industry has continued to grow each year. In 2018, domestic travelers spent $71 million a day in Virginia, which represents a 4.4 percent increase over 2017. Domestic travel-supported employees in Virginia earned $6.1 billion in payroll income during 2018, representing a 3 percent increase from 2017.

Virginia is for Lovers is the longest-running state tourism slogan in the country.

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.

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