news harrisonburg tourism sees rebound in visitors spending in 2021
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Harrisonburg tourism sees rebound in visitors, spending in 2021

Visit Harrisonburg
Submitted/Friendly City Trail and Heritage Oaks Golf Course

Harrisonburg’s tourism economy saw tremendous growth in 2021, returning to near 2019 pre-pandemic levels and seeing a 52 percent increase in tourism spending compared to 2020.

Tourism spending in Harrisonburg reached $214 million in 2021, according to data released by Virginia Tourism Corporation and data provided by Tourism Economics, which accounted for 2,295 jobs and resulted in $10.9 million in local tax dollars being generated.

“Every local tax dollar collected from tourists goes to support services and resources for the citizens of Harrisonburg,” said Jennifer Bell, Harrisonburg tourism manager. “It leads to residents of Harrisonburg getting more without having to pay more.”

Harrisonburg Tourism implemented a marketing campaign focused on Harrisonburg as the outdoor recreation capital of the Shenandoah Valley in 2021, leading to an increase in visitors looking to enjoy the local natural environment.

More than 41,000 people visited the Hardesty-Higgins Visitor Center in Downtown Harrisonburg last year, and the Visit Harrisonburg app managed by Harrisonburg Tourism saw more than 5,500 users during that time.

Harrisonburg Tourism started a new social media marketing campaign in Fall 2021 focused on engagement and increased use of videos on Instagram.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.