- Arlington tourism generated nearly $2.8 billion in visitor spending in 2012, an increase of 3.9 percent over 2011
- Tourism is “instant revenue generator” for the Commonwealth
- Hotels concerned slower Arlington growth pace may relate to reduced tourism-promotion funding following loss of guest surcharge
ARLINGTON, Va. – For the fourth consecutive year, Arlington generated more tourism spending than any other county in the Commonwealth, according to 2012 data released yesterday by the United States Travel Association (USTA) through the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC). Tourism in Arlington accounted for nearly $2.8 billion in visitor spending, or 13.1 percent of Virginia's total tourism revenue. Arlington spending increased 3.9 percent compared to 2011, supporting nearly 24,000 jobs and providing nearly $76 million in local tax revenues.
USTA's data is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from day or overnights trips taken 50 miles or more away from home. The economic impact model is comprised of 20 travel categories including Accommodations, Entertainment and Recreation, Food, Retail, Travel Arrangement, Auto Transportation and Public Transportation.
Tourism is “instant revenue generator”
“Tourism is an instant revenue generator for the Commonwealth. 2012 was a banner year for travel and hospitality in Virginia, and we were pleased to see such continued improvement in our tourism economy,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of VTC. “Tourism is a driving force of Virginia's economy – it creates jobs, generates economic impact, and benefits businesses and communities across the state. We are fortunate to have a governor and members of the General Assembly who recognize the importance of investing in an industry that continues to grow and strengthen our economy.”
Hotels concerned slower growth pace may relate to reduced promotional funding
According to USTA, Arlington visitor spending grew 7.2 percent in 2010 and 7.6 percent in 2011, slowing to 3.9 percent in 2012. Smith Travel Research reports that 2012 Arlington hotel occupancy was 72.9 percent (up 0.8 percent from 2011), while the average daily hotel rate was $156.99 (down 2.1 percent from 2011), resulting in reduced hotel revenues. While Arlington's key metrics remain stronger than most of its Virginia neighbors, the County's hotels express concerns about challenges from increasing regional competition, the continuing impact of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations, and Federal spending cuts.
2012 was the first year since 1991 that Arlington was not legislatively authorized to collect a 0.25 percent guest surcharge dedicated to tourism promotion. As a result, the County's destination marketing program, which focuses on driving Arlington hotel stays and visitor spending, is funded at 40 percent of its fiscal year 2011 budget level. The local hospitality community and County continue working together to identify potential funding solutions.
For more detailed data on the Virginia tourism industry's economic impact by locality, visit http://www.vatc.org/research/economicimpact/. For more information on Arlington tourism, visit www.stayarlington.com, www.facebook.com/stayarlington and twitter.com/stayarlington.