Cumberland sees tourism revenue spike due to staycations

Published 7:46 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Cumberland County, along with many other areas in Virginia, reported a growth in tourism in 2022. What caused it? The answer is staycations. 

One of the more obvious answers is the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions went away and vaccines rolled out more people now feel comfortable going out again. Even some of the negative effects of the pandemic are causing tourism growth. 

Cumberland County Administrator Derek Stamey attributes the growing tourism partially to the current state of the economy. Many families today can’t afford the same vacations they used to. Now, instead of going off to take big trips to well-known destinations, families are choosing to do staycations. 

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“A lot of people are finally discovering the significance of Cumberland,” said Stamey. “A lot more people are staying home and doing staycations due to the economy and exploring what is in their own backyard.”

For these staycations, travelers look to see what they can do by only making a day trip. This means that instead of the annual trip to the beach or a large amusement park, people are noticing Cumberland County.

Cumberland has a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Leaning more on the nature side, tourists can visit Bear Creek Lake, High Bridge Trail and the James River. There are also historical sites including Civil War battlefields and the nation’s first call for independence. 

Most of this can be summed up in the county’s phrase, “Discover Independence, Discover Cumberland.” According to Stamey, this is a play on the first call to independence as well as the activities in Cumberland. With many of the activities in nature, visitors are free to set their own schedule and go at their own pace which isn’t possible for every vacation. 

Looking ahead

Going forward, Stamey and the county are looking to streamline a single service to have all the information people need when looking at Cumberland as a destination. Since more people are looking at smaller trips, making sure there is enough information to pique their interest is important. The County is already working on its website with videos and a booklet to let potential visitors, as well as residents, know what there is to do in the County.

The County is also working to identify what assets to invest in for the future. With a large interest in fishing, they are looking to put in a public boat launch for fishing and boating. There is also a project for three new parks, with two already open, and creating a connector trail from Bear Creek Lake to the Courthouse Village. 

“I encourage everyone the number one thing to do is visit the website and dive into what’s in your own backyard,” said Stamey.