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County led state in tourism revenue growth in ’18

Tourism revenue growth for Prince Edward County led the commonwealth’s 2018 Tourism Economic Impact numbers by reaching $25,858,576, which is a 12.7% increase over 2017, a press release cited Tuesday.

Officials noted in the release that local tourism-supported jobs totaled $5,435,202 while local tourism-related taxes were $1,106,104. All data was received by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) from the U.S. Travel Association and is based on the spending of travelers from within the U.S. on trips 50 miles or more away from home.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism in Virginia generated $26 billion in travel spending, the release highlighted. Tourism also supported 235,000 jobs for Virginia communities and contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes. The increase is largely attributed to Virginia’s tourism promotion and development efforts all around the state, including new hotels, restaurants, agritourism, craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, cideries, sports, outdoor recreation, festivals and events, music venues, wedding venues, meeting and convention venues, attractions and so much more. Virginia’s changing tourism industry makes the commonwealth a destination for authentic travel experiences and vibrant communities.

Farmville 701 District Supervisor and Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Wilck said in the release, “Tourism is one of the strategic priorities in the county’s comprehensive economic development program. The state’s Tourism Economic Impact report shows our efforts are paying off. With new hotels, breweries and restaurants, along with the expansion of local outdoor recreational and shopping opportunities, we are seeing more visitors, who are staying longer and spending more money.”

In the release, Sandy River Outdoor Adventures Owner Candice Smith said, “This has been a great year for growth at Sandy River Outdoor Adventures. Over the past eight years, since we opened, each year we have grown. Now that we have added additional accommodations and a pool, the increase in our revenue has been over 20%. Prince Edward County is on the map, and we are so glad to have been a part of this.”

Matt Hurley, one of the owners of The Fishin’ Pig, stated in the release, “We’ve been fortunate to have a great year at The Fishin’ Pig thanks to the support of our local friends and folks from around the state. As a member of the community, we are thrilled to see our county continue to grow, and we know that wouldn’t be possible without the support of local and statewide organizations.”

Bill and Cindy Bergen, owners of Bright Eyes Alpaca Retreat, said in the release that at the retreat, “there are two facets of our business that rely on tourism. As an agritourism venue, we provide individuals with private, customized tours of the farm and interaction with our alpacas and livestock guardian dogs. As an active Airbnb, we host tourists visiting the area who enjoy state parks, trails, university and college events or simply the pleasures of Farmville and our unique community.”

Quoted in the release, Hotel Weyanoke Manager Meg Ryan said, “Over the last 18 months, Hotel Weyanoke has seen a significant growth in visitors. With draws to town like Green Front Furniture and Longwood University, Hotel Weyanoke brings high-touch service with a location ideal for experiencing and exploring downtown Farmville.”

Tourism is at a re- cord level in Virginia, and visitor spending has continued to
grow year after year, officials cited in the release. Travelers are seeking unique experiences in their leisure time and view travel as an important factor for their quality of life.

VTC President and CEO Rita McClenny said in the release, “Virginia’s tourism industry had a banner year in 2018, hitting new records and making important impacts on our communities across the commonwealth.”