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Tourism revenues up in state, Halifax County

Visitors to Virginia generated $20.4 billion in revenue from tourism in 2011, an 8 percent increase over 2010, Governor Bob McDonnell announced Wednesday.

Here in Halifax County, tourism’s domestic traffic impact generated $41.12 million in expenditures, an $8.64 million payroll, 510 jobs, $1.55 million in state tax receipts and $760,000 in local tax receipts, according to figures released in The Economic Impact of Domestic Travel On Virginia Counties 2011. 

According to Halifax County Director of Tourism Linda Shepperd, the numbers for Halifax are right in line with the state.

McDonnell’s announcement that tourism in Virginia became a $20 billion industry in 2011 was good economic news for every locality in the state, Shepperd said describing tourism as the third largest industry in Virginia.

“Tourism was again an important contributor to the local economy in 2011. Tourism revenue for Halifax County reached $41.12 million, a 7.9 percent increase over 2010.  Local tourism-supported jobs totaled 510, while local tourism-related taxes were $760,000. 

All data was received by the Virginia Tourism Corporation from United States Travel Association and is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from per person trips taken 50 miles or more away from home, she explained.

“Total travel economic impact in Halifax County has increased by 20.55 percent since 2008. That is an amazing statistic in light of the economic challenges over the last three years,” said Shepperd. “This data reflects the commitment of local governing boards to financially support tourism marketing and initiatives, a diversity of attractions and a supportive business community.”  

Shepperd continued, “The support that tourism has received from Halifax County and the towns of South Boston and Halifax has been essential to keeping tourism strong. That investment is paying off and demonstrates that Halifax County's tourism industry is headed in the right direction.

"They are just wonderful numbers, just wonderful. I believe people have gotten some confidence back and are spending more. We've had growth (tourism) every year for the past three years," said Shepperd.

In 2011, tourism in Virginia supported 207,000 jobs, an increase of nearly 2 percent in employment, and provided more than $1.32 billion in state and local taxes.  

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.

"These new figures highlight the importance of continuing to invest in tourism as an instant revenue generator for Virginia," said McDonnell.  "Virginia's tourism industry is bringing in more than $20 billion in revenue and providing more than 207,000 jobs for Virginians across the state.  I've made tourism a key part of my administration's economic development initiatives and it's encouraging to see the positive return on investment."