Statewide visitor spending reached $27 billion
WAYNESBORO – Tourism revenue for the City of Waynesboro reached $38,337,064, a 2.3 percent increase over 2018. Local tourism-supported jobs totaled 367 while local tourism-related taxes were $1,247,461.
According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), tourism in Virginia generated $27 billion in visitor spending in 2019. The tourism industry also supported 237,000 jobs for Virginia communities and provided $1.8 billion in state and local revenue. Virginia ranks 8th in the nation for domestic travel spending. All data is from the U.S. Travel Association and is based on domestic visitor spending from trips taken 50 miles or more away from home.
The travel industry in the Commonwealth has continued to grow 10 years in a row with a compound annual growth rate of 3.9 percent since 2010. However, these figures do not account for the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on the tourism industry.
“Tourism spending is crucial to Waynesboro’s local economy and will play a vital role in economic recovery. As a small city in a beautiful setting with easy access to fantastic outdoor recreation amenities, we are well-positioned for recovery,” says Jennifer Callison, Tourism and Marketing Manager for the City of Waynesboro. “The opening of three new dining establishments, The River Burger Bar, Bottles, and The Showroom at Basic City Beer Co., amid the pandemic shows positive momentum in our local tourism industry.”
The coronavirus pandemic put the Virginia travel and tourism industry in crisis, and imposed a devastating strain on Virginia’s hotels, restaurants, attractions, and communities. The pandemic caused decreased revenue and a reduced workforce, while some businesses have been forced to shutter temporarily if not completely. As a result, early numbers for 2020 project a sharp decrease in tourism spending.
As the Commonwealth continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, the pandemic has further emphasized the stark contrast in 2019 and 2020 and that statewide economic revival cannot occur without the recovery of the travel industry.
Waynesboro’s tourism marketing strategy pivoted in March to focus primarily on community members. Encouraging residents to shop local stores online and pick-up food from local restaurants triggered an outpouring of support for many small businesses, which are the lifeblood of the Waynesboro community and the backbone of the local economy.
While the coronavirus has had a significant impact on Virginia’s tourism economy, the industry remains hopeful for a robust return to 2019 numbers in the future. Tourism will be key to economic recovery as the pandemic stabilizes and leisure and business travel resumes. As Americans begin to travel again, Waynesboro intends to help restore the tourism economy into the economic engine it always has been.