Governor Northam Announces Tourism Revenues Reached $26 Billion in Virginia in 2018
Posted: Jun 19, 2019
Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s tourism industry generated $26 billion in visitor spending across all communities in 2018, a 4.4 percent increase over 2017. In 2018, tourism in Virginia supported 234,000 jobs for Virginia communities—a 1 percent increase from 2017.
The Virginia Beach CVB has a diverse, professional staff who stand ready to present to groups and organizations on any one or more of the multiple areas of tourism business we conduct:
Local Tourism Advocacy
Sports Marketing Tourism
Meetings and Convention Tourism
Contact Teresa Diaz, APR at 385-6631 or firstname.lastname@example.org to develop a program specific to your group's needs.
Quick Facts about Virginia Beach Tourism
Posted: May 22, 2019
Travel Matters - As one of the largest industries and economic drivers in the city, tourism plays a pivotal role in encouraging growth and funding initiatives that enhance Virginia Beach’s valued community.
How many visitors choose Virginia Beach for a visit or vacation?
Approximately 19 million:
8.9 million day visitors and 10.1 million overnight visitors
(Source: Longwoods International)
What is the economic impact of tourism?
$2.45 billion in direct travel-related expenditures
$6.7 million on average spent each day
$136 million in state and local tax revenue
How many jobs does the tourism industry support?
More than 13,800 local jobs of a wide range are directly supported by tourism. Almost every industry has indirect ties to tourism such as fields in technology, engineering, accounting, and legal to name a few. (Source: U.S. Travel Association)
What kind of taxes do visitors pay? Visitors pay taxes such as hotel, meal, and amusement tax.
How is that tax revenue used? Taxes generated by visitors go to pay for schools, roads, public safety, emergency medical services, and other critical city services, many of which (such as schools) are not utilized by our visitors. Visitor taxes are also allocated to fund two city programs vital to the growth of the Virginia Beach tourism industry: the Tourism Investment Program (TIP) and the Tourism Advertising Program (TAP). (Source: City of Virginia Beach)
*All figures based on 2017 data
Posted: May 22, 2019
The Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is a proud member of U.S. Travel Association, the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.5 trillion in economic output and supports 15.7 million American jobs. U.S. Travel operates as a 501(c)(6) organization.
The mission of U.S. Travel is to increase travel within the United States. Travel is a diverse, dynamic economic contributor and an essential part of our everyday lives and American business. Our industry comprises various sectors— including transportation, lodging, retail, recreation and entertainment and food service—and spans across all travel segments: meetings, leisure, business, incentive and trade shows.
4 Little Known Facts About Careers in Travel
Posted: May 22, 2019
Share of Americans whose first job was in travel - 22%
Share of travel jobs earning a middle-class or higher wage - 52%
Average career salary of Americans who first job was in travel - $82,000
Share of Americans with a first job in travel who are now earning more than $100,000 annual - 2 in 5
Source: U.S. Travel Association as of March, 2019
Virginia Beach Offers New Oceanfront Parking Programs~Parking Passes and Loyalty Cards Make Parking More Convenient
Posted: May 21, 2018
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (May 7, 2018) — Parking at the oceanfront during the peak beach-going season just got easier with two new parking programs from the City of Virginia Beach. The City now offers seasonal parking passes that can be used to "pay one price, park all summer long" at municipal parking lots at the oceanfront. For $80, drivers can purchase a season parking pass that allows unlimited parking access at City surface lots from April 1 to Oct. 31. The parking pass makes it convenient to enjoy multiple visits to the oceanfront without incurring the costs to park each time.
The new customer loyalty program is a free punch card that grants drivers one free parking visit after four paid visits at any municipal parking lot or garage. The loyalty card rewards customers for regularly using City parking facilities and are being distributed to drivers for use all year long.
Both the seasonal pass and customer loyalty programs were initiated by Councilman John Uhrin, who worked with the City's Parking Management Office to provide ways to make parking at the oceanfront easier and more convenient for residents and others visiting the oceanfront.
"We've launched these parking programs to encourage people to visit the oceanfront more often to shop, dine and attend concerts and other special events," said Uhrin. "They can come down during the day to enjoy the beach, and come back again that night for dinner or to see a free concert without having to worry about paying for parking each time."
The new parking offerings have already proven to be popular among residents. During the first few weeks of the program, information about the passes was shared via social media posts and more than 60 passes were sold. The first weekend the loyalty card was distributed, nearly 2,000 were given out. More cards are being printed to meet the expected future demand.
"We've had a very positive response to both the seasonal passes and the loyalty cards," said Rob Fries, parking manager for the City of Virginia Beach. "The benefits of these programs are two-fold; they help ease the burden of parking for residents and visitors at the oceanfront, and they provide incentives to help drive increased visitation to the resort area."
The seasonal parking passes can be used at municipal parking lots only and can be purchased at the lots on 2nd Street, 4th Street, 19th Street, Rudee Loop and the Croatan lot. The loyalty cards can be used at all municipal lots and garages and are being distributed at those locations as well.
About Virginia Beach Parking Management Virginia Beach Parking Management oversees the operation of 8 public garages, 10 surface lots, 780 street spaces and 112 parking services employees throughout the City of Virginia Beach. The Parking Management Office strives to provide convenient, affordable and sustainable parking services that promote superior customer service, support local commerce and benefit residents and visitors. For more information about parking in Virginia Beach, visit VBgov.com/parking.
Tourism Enables Local Businesses to Grow
Posted: May 08, 2018
"During my time living here, I feel that tourism has grounded the city and enabled it to make significant progress with new development, available jobs, exciting attractions and a wholesome place to raise a family. As long as the city continues to keep a good balance with managing the expectation of our visitors and locals alike, I feel tourism will show continued benefits to Virginia Beach.
Our company, Online Scene Solutions, is dedicated to ensuring our hotel clients have a great online reputation and that their guest comments are continually monitored and responded to on their behalf. This shows tourists looking to visit the VB area that these hotels are engaged with social media, demonstrate great customer service and want to understand the experience and needs of their visitors. Virginia Beach welcomes tourists year-round which in turn utilize lodging, restaurants and various other attractions and venues in the area enabling businesses like myself and others to also help supplement and support their business and the Virginia Beach economy.
Our beautiful city has tons to offer both residents and visitors from outside the 757 area. Having tourism here enables local businesses to grow, expand and adapt to the needs of those coming to visit while also adopting new ideas from them as well. This keeps our city fresh and hopefully will continue to motivate residents and businesses to prosper."
My Journey Upward: Hard Work Pays Off in Tourism
Posted: May 08, 2018
"I was 16 years old, living on the 700 block of 24th street. It was time for my first summer job, and I loved to clean so I applied at the Comfort Inn on 28th Street & Pacific (now a La Quinta). They hired me as a front desk agent & that summer job turned into a lifetime career.
The next summer I worked at the desk at the Holiday Inn on 21st and also work in the restaurant at the Holiday Inn 39th. I would help in banquets when needed. I was a hard worker and willing to help any department when needed. I was rewarded with promotions and responsibilities much earlier than friends my age. At age 21, I was an Assistant General Manager (AGM) at Holiday Inn 21st and was offered a Food and Beverage Director job that same year at the Holiday Inn 39th. I stayed as AGM as I felt I was better suited there.
Later I decided to shift my career path from operations to sales. I started in Sales at the Ramada on 57th (now a Wyndham). I was sales coordinator for two years and was promoted to sales manager. With sales, I have been given the opportunity to travel and see places I would have never seen. I have met people as clients and now they are my friends. I have learned so much and continue to learn everyday as this industry is always evolving. I am paid fairly and can see the ocean from my workplace. I would say tourism has made me in the person I am today and I wouldn't change thing.
Tourism supports so many jobs (and people) in our city...starting at the airport or car rentals, the dining, the shopping, the lodging, services (like spa or activities). That revenue helps our city grow which also gives us locals things to do all year round. How lucky are we? It is a win-win for locals & visitors!"
Promo vendor supported by tourism touts job and population base growth
Posted: May 08, 2018
Tourism in Virginia Beach means jobs, jobs, jobs. Many people move here after they visit, contributing to the tax base and the economy in general. I can also attest to the benefits I receive as a vendor to the tourism industry, particularly as I have been working with several hotel sales departments for over 20 years. Thanks to tourism, I helping them market the Virginia Beach area to their clients as they travel and at their marketing venues. It's been my pleasure to work with so many wonderful hospitality people and they have contributed greatly to my business success.
Paula Perilli P3 Perilli Promotional Products
Public Private Partnerships Help Build New Tourism Product
Posted: Apr 18, 2018
Virginia Beach invests in public private partnerships to add value, economic vitality and quality of life to our community. These projects also help Virginia Beach remain a competitive option for tourism, as consumers often look to discover what's new in a destination before making a decision to visit (or return). In tourism-speak, we call these projects "demand drivers-" projects that generate new visitation or spend to an area because that product exists there.
Here are just a few example of successful initiatives and the return on investment on those projects.
As a resident, you've probably utilized it yourself for a symphony concert, a non-profit 5K fundraiser or even a church service. In Virginia Beach, the 31st Street project was a $31.7 million dollar public investment in a park, restrooms and a parking garage that leveraged a $41.5 million dollar private investment. From that, the City receives more than $4 million dollars each year. Additional development surrounding that area has resulted in a complete revitalization of that popular corridor to compliment King Neptune himself.
Overnight visitor profile studies show that many tourists staying at the oceanfront visit Town Center for entertainment, dining and shopping -- which makes this development a win-win for residents AND tourism. According to overnight visitor profile studies conducted by Continental Research, Town Center is one of the top four activities visitors do on their Virginia Beach vacation. The total private investment in Town Center was $487 million dollars. The public investment was $108 million (a 4.5 to 1 ratio). The latest phase alone has a private to public investment ratio of 10 to 1 — $48 million dollars of private investment and $3.9 million in public funds. We are excited to welcome Zeiders American Dream Theatre, apartments and more in 2018 to this popular shopping, dining and retail corridor.
No one forgets an amazing concert - and maybe you can instantly recollect one you attended. In 1996, the City invested $10.5 million dollars in the Virginia Beach Amphitheater, and a private partner spent $7 million dollars. During the first 20 years, six million patrons have attended about 600 events there. Since it opened, the City has earned its investment back more than twice over. Get your sunblock and dancing moves ready: check out the latest concert lineup here.
Most recently, Virginia Beach welcomed the revitalization of the historic Cavalier, which thanks to a public-private partnership is expected to recover the City's investment and receive an estimated $65 million dollars in revenue over the next 20 years. Visiting a historic landmark is considered the number one activity visitors think they can do in Virginia Beach, according to Wakefield Research reports (March 2018). With the hotel's fame hosting 10 presidents and Jeffersonian-inspired architecture, the Cavalier will continue to be a sought-after historical destination for several decades to come.
Finally, partnerships with foundations have also helped support our community:
$12.5 million dollars was raised from private donations to help build the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
Virginia Aquarium Foundation contributed $9 million dollars to create the popular Restless Planet exhibit and $5 million dollars to expand the Aquarium in 1996.
So next time you party at the ampitheater, meet a mermaid, take a selfie on the Cavalier steps or buy a birthday gift at Town Center, please remember that it was made possible thanks to these public developments that may not have occurred otherwise without private support.
Workers Who Start in Travel Achieve Above Average Salaries
Posted: Apr 18, 2018
According to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data:
Overall, Americans whose first job was in a travel-related industry obtain an average career salary of $81,900—significantly higher than those whose first jobs were in manufacturing, construction, healthcare and most other U.S. industries.
Nearly 40 percent of workers who began their career in travel reached an annual career salary in excess of $100,000.
The travel industry also offers a statistically better career starting point for Americans with less education: workers with a high school degree or less whose first jobs were in travel reached an average career salary of $69,500, five percent greater than the average salary attained by workers who started off in other industries.
This data was analyzed for a study titled “Travel: America’s Unsung Hero of Job Creation” to showcase the significant economic power of the travel industry in America—particularly the quality of the industry’s jobs and the large number that are created by small businesses. Did you start your successful career path working in the Virginia Beach tourism industry? We would like to hear from you. Share your story with us here.
Video: Don't Be "Miz-Informed" About Tourism Impact
Posted: Apr 02, 2018
The City of Virginia Beach's Communications Office recently launched a series of videos designed to educate residents and combat rumors and misinformation. One of the first videos they produced was about tourism and where the tax revenue goes. Take a look at the vacationing "Roberts family" and how their recent spending in Virginia Beach impacted several services that the city provides residents.
What Happens When Destination Marketing Stops
Posted: Apr 02, 2018
Destination marketing is important to Virginia Beach and other cities that rely heavily on the economic impact it provides. If funding is cut short, or eliminated, the results can be disastrous. Here are some examples of other cities that have experienced this issue as a reminder to us how important the work of promoting Virginia Beach to potential visitors is for our city.
When Colorado eliminated its tourism marketing budget in the early 1990s, its domestic market share plunged 30 percent, and they lost $1.4 billion annually – a number which eventually rose to $2 billion annually. Once Colorado reinstated its tourism marketing, it took more than 20 years to regain its market share.
Pennsylvania cut its tourism marketing budget from $30 million to $7 million in 2009. Every dollar cut from their tourism marketing budget cost them $3.60 in tax revenue. From 2009 to 2014, Pennsylvania lost more than $600 million in tax revenue.
Washington zeroed out its tourism marketing budget in 2011 and competing Montana has grown its tourism numbers by 70 percent more than Washington.
In the early 1980s, the City of Sausalito, California, eliminated tourism promotion because locals complained about too many visitors enjoying Sausalito’s high-end art galleries and fine dining. The result was the same number of visitors as before, but the wrong visitor who did not frequent the high-end shops and fueled a growth in low budget souvenir and t-shirt shops.
Due to a legislative budget impass in Illinois in 2015-2016, the state’s tourism promotion “virtually stopped.” The negative impact has been immediate. By January 2016, the state hotel tax receipts were down $2 million or 15 percent over 2015. Smith Travel Research estimated a 6.3 percent decline in hotel revenue in Chicago. Consumer inquiries about Illinois for January-March 2016 were down 84 percent compared to same period in 2015
Virginian-Pilot Editorial Board Supports Virginia Beach Tourism Product Development
Posted: Apr 02, 2018
Local newspaper The Virginian-Pilot published an editorial piece on the necessity for Virginia Beach to continually develop tourism product in order to be relevant in the future.
“The city also is heavily dependent on tourism dollars for its economy and tax base, and it must compete hard with other desirable destinations along the East Coast to attract out-of-state and in-state visitors. Today’s tourists still enjoy the beach experience, but many are increasingly looking for additional attractions, experiences and entertainment options to fill their vacation time.
If Virginia Beach wants to become more of a year-round option for visitors, the only way that will happen is with many more entertainment options beyond what is available now. The city is fortunate to have its Tourism Investment Program to help support some of those projects, but it’s important that those dollars be spent as part of a comprehensive, long-term plan to strengthen Virginia Beach’s appeal to tourists. One or two projects in the pipeline at any given time isn’t enough.”
Tourism is a billion dollar industry in Virginia Beach. It provides nearly 13,000 jobs and pays for major public projects like the convention center and sand replenishment. While some projects are designed to attract tourists in support of this major industry, these projects also provide an enhanced quality of life for the residents; the amenities are available for their use without having to fund them (except through the discretionary restaurant tax). They are funded by dedicated taxes generated by tourism industry partners (hoteliers, restaurateurs and entertainment venues) imposed specifically to help pay for tourism-related projects. These projects help keep Virginia Beach relevant in the very competitive travel segment. Visitors to Virginia Beach also contribute about $56.4 million (about 10 cents on the property tax rate) to the City’s General Fund. This helps pay for essential City services like police, fire and emergency medical, schools, storm water and roads.
Why is destination marketing important?
Because destination marketing works, and the Virginia Beach CVB maintain an incredible record of driving growth in visitor spending.
Cities that cultivate a brand through effective travel promotion attract visitors whose spending create jobs for its residents and generate tax revenue.
Travel promotion marketing improves our city's perception, which accelerates business and workforce development, infrastructure improvements, real estate purchases, even population growth. Before families book a vacation or meeting planners decide where to host a convention, or before home buyers contemplate buying a second home or high schools graduates consider where to attend college – first, it has to occur to them to visit.
That’s why travel promotion works.
Crucial to Our Business Model
Posted: Mar 27, 2018
Tourism in Virginia Beach is crucial to our business model. While we are fortunate to live and work at the beach, the lack of population for 3,000 miles to the east requires robust tourism to sustain business throughout the year.
Robert Pizzini, iFly
62 Jobs and Quality of Life
Posted: Mar 27, 2018
Tourism is the reason I elected to build an office in Virginia Beach. Tourism is what allows me to employ 62 people. Personally, tourism is one of the reasons I enjoy what is arguably the highest quality of life in the region and pay the lowest property taxes as a resident."
Randy Thompson, VistaGraphics, Inc.
Value Extends Further Than Funds
Posted: Mar 27, 2018
As a six decade resident, I have learned over the years of the value of tourism. It extends much further than funds for our city. It is truly about the stories of times in Virginia Beach that are memorable to all that have visited here. These stories carry the message of the quality level of our resort, its hospitality, and its people. Stories are memories and memories are what carries our brand and experience into the future. Tourism is about our relationship with the rest of the world. The future of this relationship is critical to our ever evolving position in the world of travel and hospitality.
Billy Almond, CEO, Landscape Architect
Tourism Helps Meet Fundraising Goals
Posted: Mar 27, 2018
We specifically chose to locate our facility in Virginia Beach because the city has such a strong commitment to tourism. Since moving to Virginia Beach, we have had visitors from across the country, which has helped us reach new fundraising goals and promote our mission on a larger scale. Being an associate member of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association has helped us on the path to becoming a "destination shelter" for locals and tourists alike, and our doors wouldn't be open today without their support.
The Bunny Hutch & CLIMATES-Rescue
"I Came as a Tourist First"
Posted: Mar 27, 2018
Everyone understands that tourism drives employment and creates jobs. In my personal experience, I actually came to Virginia Beach first as a tourist, discovered all that Virginia Beach had to offer, and decided to establish a business presence here to support the tourism industry. It now accounts for more than 60 percent of our business. In other words, tourism acts as the initial greeting to folks who know little of this area but can be the conduit to a long term commitment. Its value goes well beyond how we measure the industry.
-John Britton, Managing Director, James River ATM
Appear Before Council
Posted: Mar 27, 2018
Attending council meetings is a great way to show your support for tourism initiatives. You must register with the city clerk or deputy city clerk at 385-4303 prior to the meeting. If tourism is not on the meeting agenda, you can request in writing to the Office of the City Clerk, 2401 Courthouse Drive, City Hall Building #1, Room 281, Municipal Center, Virginia Beach, VA 23456. A member of the council may sponsor a citizen to address council on any item.
Posted: Mar 27, 2018
Email is a great way to easily voice your support for tourism ideas and initiatives.
Be prepared and knowledgeable. Get up to speed on the key messages, so you can talk to your elected officials and tell them to support tourism initiatives.
Advocacy Talking Points
In 2017, Virginia Beach’s tourism industry produced $2.45 billion in total economic impact to the city.1
Tourism-related spending generated $136 million in tax revenue for state and local governments.2
Every $109,000 spent by travelers supports one job in Virginia Beach.3
In 2017, there are 13,852 employed in Virginia Beach thanks to the tourism industry. 4
In fact, two out of every five workers who start their careers in the travel industry go on to make more than $100,000 a year. 5
Since 2010, visitor spending has increased by more than $360 million, and a record-breaking number of tourists have visited Virginia Beach bringing more government revenue, more jobs and more opportunities for small businesses and local communities. 6
Negative Impacts of Reductions
A 5% decline in tourism economy will result in decline of $74.7 million in visitor expenditures7, $6.6 million local and state taxes8, 680 in employment9 and $13.9 million in payroll10.
1 2 4 5 Source: US Travel Association
3 Tourism expenditures ($1,493,988,762) provided by US Travel Association divided by tourism employment (13,650) provided by US Travel Association.
6 The difference between 2010 tourism expenditures ($1,129,959,737) and 2016 tourism expenditures ($1,493,988,762). Both numbers provided by US Travel Association.
7 Tourism expenditures ($1,493,988,762) multiplied by 5%. Expenditures provided by US Travel Association.
8 Local and state tax receipts ($132,078,940) multiplied by 5%. Tax receipts provided by US Travel Association.
9 Employment (13,650) multiplied by 5%. Employment provided by US Travel Association.
10 Payroll ($277,939,324) multiplied by 5%. Payroll provided by US Travel Association.
Advertising Virginia Beach Means ROI
Posted: Mar 20, 2018
In an advertising return on investment study conducted by Longwoods International for the City of Virginia Beach, it demonstrated that for every dollar we invest in tourism advertising we generated $67.84 in visitor spending and further generated $3.44 in local tax revenue. Tourism activity in Virginia Beach produces $1.49 billion in direct spend in our local businesses. It’s important to understand that these are new dollars added to our economy as visitors bring these dollars with them from outside our region and leave them in our local economy and then go home with their memories – and local purchases. This tourism activity also contributed nearly $60 million in local tax dollars to help support vital city services and our schools.
Here is a great flowchart that shows how the revenue flows into our economy from hotel taxes and restaurant taxes by visitors. When we redirect some of that money into more advertising, we keep visitors coming – hopefully new visitors that will make Virginia Beach their vacation destination of choice for years to come.