Henrico attracts $746.5 million in tourist spending in 2012

September 5, 2013

CONTACT:Dawn Miller Tourism Supervisor Henrico County Division of Recreation and Parks
PHONE: (804) 501-5137

Henrico attracts $746.5 million in tourist spending in 2012 County total grows 4.7 percent, ranks fifth highest in Virginia

Henrico County captured $746.5 million in spending by domestic travelers during 2012, the fifth highest total of any Virginia locality, according to newly released data from the U.S. Travel Association.

Henrico’s total marks a 4.7 percent increase from 2011, exceeding Virginia’s statewide increase of 4 percent. In tourist spending, Henrico topped all localities in central Virginia and trailed only the counties of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun and the city of Virginia Beach. Tourist spending in Henrico has increased in each of the past three years, by a total of $143 million.

“Like Virginia as a whole, Henrico County is poised for continued growth in spending by tourists and other visitors,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “We have become a premier destination for a variety of travelers. We have historical sites, cultural amenities and top-notch recreational facilities that continue to attract youth and adult sports tournaments and events.

“This economic activity is critical to Henrico’s success because it supports jobs, enriches our quality of life and provides revenue to pay for our schools, public safety and other services.”

Henrico’s expenditure total reflects spending on food, lodging, transportation, entertainment, retail and other services by travelers from within the United States who had taken day or overnight trips at least 50 miles from home.

Visitor spending in Henrico supported more than 7,400 jobs with a combined payroll of $171.7 million and generated tax receipts of $22.3 million for the county and $27.1 million for the state. Overall, Virginia attracted $21.2 billion in visitor spending in 2012, which supported 210,000 jobs and provided $1.36 billion in state and local taxes.

The U.S. Travel Association compiled the data for the Virginia Tourism Corp. Its report, The Economic Impact of Domestic Travel On Virginia Counties 2012, is available at www.vatc.org/research/economicimpact/.

Under the direction of the Board of Supervisors, Henrico has taken steps to boost tourism in the county. In March, officials launched the Visit Henrico County campaign to promote Henrico as a destination for tourists and youth and adult recreational sports tournaments. A website, www.VisitHenrico.com, and a smartphone app help travelers plan where to stay, shop and eat, and what they will do while in Henrico.

This summer, Henrico hosted nearly two dozen sports tournaments and events that combined to attract more than 400 local and out-of-town teams and 17,000 spectators to the county. The effort resulted in an estimated $10.5 million in local economic activity over two months.

In addition to a variety of sports complexes, Henrico’s attractions include Richmond International Raceway, Civil War battlefields, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Three Lakes Park and Nature Center, and the Dabbs House and Meadow Farm museums.

“It makes great sense to boost tourism in Henrico because visitors generate significant economic activity for the county while having a minimal impact on public services,” Vithoulkas said. “Given our strategic location on the eastern seaboard and access to major highways, Henrico must continue to roll out its welcome mat.”

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