County’s total leads central Virginia, remains fifth highest in state
Henrico County captured $915.9 million in spending by domestic travelers during 2017, the most of any locality in central Virginia and the fifth-highest total in Virginia, according to a study for the Virginia Tourism Corp.
Tourist spending in Henrico increased by 4.1 percent over its total for 2016, tracking with the statewide increase of 4.4 percent. Among Virginia localities, tourism spending in Henrico trailed only the totals for the counties of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun and the city of Virginia Beach.
The total reflects spending on food, lodging, transportation, entertainment, retail and other services by travelers from the United States who had stayed overnight in paid accommodations or had taken day or overnight trips at least 50 miles from home.
In 2017, tourism in Henrico supported nearly 8,600 jobs with a combined payroll income of $223.7 million. It also generated tax receipts of $28.2 million for the county and $34.0 million for the state.
Overall, Virginia attracted $24.8 billion in visitor spending, which supported 232,223 jobs and provided $1.7 billion in state and local taxes. Regionally, Henrico and seven neighboring localities combined to attract nearly $2.5 billion in visitor spending, supporting 24,400 jobs with a payroll of $574 million.
“Travelers continue to visit Henrico to take advantage of the many qualities and amenities that make the county a great place to live and work,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “Tourism is steadily becoming a billion-dollar industry for Henrico. Whether they’re here for recreation, sports, history, shopping or other entertainment, visitors contribute to Henrico’s high quality of life by staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and supporting other businesses. Every dollar spent sends ripples through the local economy and helps to fund our schools, parks, public safety and other local services.”
Henrico launched the Visit Henrico County initiative in 2013 to attract leisure travelers as well as national and regional tournaments to its athletic fields and complexes. The visithenrico.com website and a smartphone app help visitors plan where to stay, shop and eat, and what to do.
In 2017, Henrico’s parks and sports complexes hosted 150 tournaments and other events, which generated an estimated $47.3 million in local spending, according to the Division of Recreation and Parks.
In addition to its many historic sites and sports complexes, the county’s attractions include Richmond Raceway, the site of NASCAR’s Go Bowling 250 on Friday, Sept. 21 and the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday, Sept. 22. Other visitor-friendly sites include Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Three Lakes Park and Nature Center, and the Dabbs House and Meadow Farm museums.
The U.S. Travel Association compiled the tourism data for the Virginia Tourism Corp. Its report, The Economic Impact of Domestic Travel On Virginia Counties 2017, is available at vatc.org.