Report: Overseas visitors spend record amount in Virginia in 2011

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced on Wednesday that overseas visitor spending in Virginia in 2011 hit a record of $390 million, a 21 percent increase over 2010.  The state also welcomed increased visitation and spending by Canadian visitors in 2011, with overnight visitation up 10.6 percent and spending up nearly 11 percent, totaling more than $148 million.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, the Survey of International Air Travelers and Statistics Canada provide the annual economic data.

On Sept. 5, Gov. McDonnell announced that revenue from domestic visitors to Virginia hit a record $20.4 billion in 2011, an 8 percent increase over 2010, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

“2011 was a banner year for Virginia tourism. Our tourism industry is hitting on all cylinders and providing instant revenue and quality jobs for Virginians,” said Governor McDonnell. “The record growth we are seeing in tourism revenue in Virginia reaffirms my administration’s investment in tourism marketing as a smart economic development initiative. When we bring more tourists to Virginia, we create more jobs for Virginians.”

Virginia is a member of Capital Region USA (CRUSA), the official regional destination marketing organization promoting Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC internationally, in partnership with the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Destination DC, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

In addition to record spending growth, the data showed that overseas visitors increased the length of stay by eight percent, now averaging 14 days in Virginia.

“Our partnership with CRUSA has proven very effective in encouraging overseas visitors who arrive at Dulles, one of the largest international airports in the country, to come to Virginia and extend their stay,” said Rita McClenny, interim president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

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