Travel and tourism spending in the Richmond region grew 5% in 2018 compared with the prior year.
Tourism generated more than $2.6 billion in local spending, according to a new study released Tuesday by the U.S. Travel Association and commissioned by the Virginia Tourism Corp., the state’s travel promotion agency.
The region saw 7.7 million visitors last year.
The bulk of the tourism spending in the region took place in Henrico County, which was estimated at $963.5 million. Henrico ranked fifth among localities in the state for total domestic travel expenditures.
The city of Richmond ranked second in the region in tourism spending, with $800.2 million in tourism revenue.
Elsewhere in the region, travel spending was estimated at $525.8 million in Chesterfield County; $258.8 million in Hanover County (which includes the town of Ashland); $36.3 million in New Kent County; and $9.9 million in Powhatan County.
“Tourism is a powerful economic engine for our region and boosts quality of life,” said Jack Berry, president and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism, the nonprofit organization that offers services to support the area’s hospitality industry. Its member jurisdictions are Ashland, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan and Richmond.
“Through innovative marketing and sales, the Richmond Region Tourism team works throughout the year to market the region to leisure travelers and meetings, conventions and tournaments,” Berry said. “We’re excited to see the tourism industry’s continued growth and the positive impact it has on our community.”
Tourism in the Richmond region generated $96.8 million in state taxes and $73.5 million in local taxes last year, the study showed. Tourism also supported 24,400 jobs in 2018.
Statewide, tourism resulted in 234,000 jobs and $1.78 billion in state and local taxes.