Tourism revenue for Spotsylvania County reached more than $303 million in 2019, a three percent increase over 2018. Local tourism-supported jobs totaled almost 3,200 while local tourism-related taxes were nearly $6 million.
According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), tourism in Virginia generated $27 billion in visitor spending in 2019. The tourism industry also supported 237,000 jobs for Virginia communities and provided $1.8 billion in state and local revenue. Virginia ranks 8th in the nation for domestic travel spending. All data is from the U.S. Travel Association and is based on domestic visitor spending from trips taken 50 miles or more away from home.
The travel industry in the Commonwealth has continued to grow 10 years in a row with a compound annual growth rate of 3.9 percent since 2010. However, these figures do not account for the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on the tourism industry.
"Tourism is a fundamental component of our community, and we rely on it to help maintain the health of our local economy," says Spotsylvania County Administrator Edward Petrovitch. "While these latest numbers are encouraging, we aren't taking them for granted and will continue aggressive recovery efforts to help lessen the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on tourism in Spotsylvania County."
The coronavirus pandemic put the Virginia travel and tourism industry in crisis, and imposed a devastating strain on Virginia’s hotels, restaurants, attractions, and communities. The pandemic caused decreased revenue and a reduced workforce, while some businesses have been forced to shutter temporarily if not completely. As a result, early numbers for 2020 project a sharp decrease in tourism spending.
As the Commonwealth continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, the pandemic has further emphasized the stark contrast in 2019 and 2020 and that statewide economic revival cannot occur without the recovery of the travel industry.
With the onset of the pandemic, Spotsylvania restaurants were quickly forced to implement adjustments to normal business offerings, such as adding delivery and curbside services and making accommodations for outdoor dining to help them get through the worst of it. While most county hotels initially saw a drop in occupancy, most have fared well and are beginning to see a gradual increase in occupancy rates.
While the coronavirus has had a significant impact on Virginia’s tourism economy, the industry remains hopeful for a robust return to 2019 numbers in the future. Tourism will be key to economic recovery as the pandemic stabilizes and leisure and business travel resumes. As Americans begin to travel again, Spotsylvania intends to help restore the tourism economy into the economic engine it always has been.
Spotsylvania is pleased to announce that Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator, Lindsay Leach will take over as Community Engagement and Tourism Manager beginning October 1, 2020. Ms. Leach brings exceptional talent, a fresh perspective, and established community relationships with her to the new role. She looks forward to building on a solid foundation and working with tourism partners to execute aggressive marketing campaigns. She takes over for Debbie Aylor, who has led Spotsylvania's Tourism Department for well over a decade. Ms. Aylor is relocating out of the area to be closer to family. We appreciate her dedicated service to the county and wish her all the best.