POWHATAN – Tourism in Powhatan County generated $9.9 million in visitor spending in 2018, representing a 5.9 percent increase over the previous year, according to the United States Travel Association.

The organization recently released data for spending in the Richmond region, which saw $2.6 billion generated in the Richmond Region Tourism partner localities – including the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan, the town of Ashland and the city of Richmond, according to a release.

Powhatan by far generated the least amount of revenue among the six localities whose data was provided. However, the 5.9 percent growth it saw was the highest among the localities as well as being above the overall region growth of 5 percent.

All data was received by the VTC from US Travel and is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from trips taken 50 miles or more away from home.

According to the report, which was commissioned by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the county’s total revenue from tourism in 2018 was $9,903,354, up from $9,349,186 the year before. The report showed total revenue increasing steadily for the last five years. In 2018, Powhatan also saw increases in employment, local tax receipts, payroll, and state tax receipts attributed to tourism.

Powhatan has much to offer the tourism industry with numerous well established businesses as well as new popular businesses that have increased the tourism numbers, said Roxanne Salerno, the county’s economic development program manager.

“Joining Richmond Region Tourism has boosted the tourism platform for these businesses and offered new opportunities to break further into the tourism scene,” she said.

Richmond Region Tourism is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the Region to meeting, convention and sports event planners, tour operators and leisure travelers. Powhatan County became a member of the nonprofit in summer 2018.

The understanding was Richmond Region Tourism would offer a discounted $20,000 rate for the first year and then increase $10,000 annually until reaching $50,000 in the fourth year. Powhatan could reevaluate on an annual basis whether it was a worthwhile resource.

Powhatan’s Economic Development department promotes and supports the tourism industry in Powhatan, which includes numerous wedding venues, drinking establishments, restaurants, lodging facilities, recreation businesses, unique retail and niche agritourism businesses, Salerno said.

“Great measures have been taken to promote Powhatan as a unique rural community to discover within close proximity to Richmond. The numbers are not the only measure of success for the tourism industry in Powhatan, as local businesses have garnered numerous accolades as places of interest and must visits,” she added.

With record level growth, all of Virginia’s 133 counties and independent cities saw an increase in tourism compared to the previous year, resulting in $26 billion in travel spending statewide, according to the report.

“Tourism is a powerful economic engine for our region and boosts quality of life,” said Jack Berry, Richmond Region Tourism president and CEO. “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. We’re excited to see the tourism industry’s continued growth and the positive impact is has on our community.”

For more information about Richmond Region Tourism and its partner localities, go to www.visitrichmondva.com.

Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.

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