BrandStory, LLC to Represent Virginia Beach in China

Destination marketing partnership follows another record tourism year for Beach

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

​The Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is pleased to announce a partnership with BrandStory, a contract representation firm headquartered in Shanghai, to promote international leisure travel to Virginia Beach exclusively within the China market. BrandStory also serves as the representative for other major destination marketing organizations including Capital Region USA, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and Taiwan.

This announcement coincides with recent data released by the U.S. Travel Association showing Virginia Beach had its best year for visitor spending on record in 2014. Spending reached a record high of $1.4 billion, a 4.9 percent increase from a 2013 record-setting year. Tourism-supported jobs totaled 12,568 while city and state tourism-related taxes derived from activity in Virginia Beach totaled $115 million. Overseas travel to the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area contributed 26 percent of the state’s total international visitation last year, equating to an estimated 103,000 visitors.

“Virginia Beach has an impressive 567,000 followers on Weibo compared to almost 200,000 thousand fans on Facebook,” said Jim Ricketts, director of the Virginia Beach CVB. “Chinese visitors love sharing photos of our sunrises and three beaches on this social platform. They love coming here for the same reasons our domestic travelers come to Virginia Beach.”

China is the fastest growing origin country for overseas arrivals. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI), 2.2 million Chinese visitors came to the U.S in 2014 and that number is expected to surpass 4.2 million visitors in 2018. By 2020 it is estimated that 5.7 million Chinese visitors will visit the states, making China the largest overseas market. Already, in 2014 China is the number one origin market for overseas travelers to the Capital Region USA, a consortium made up of Virginia, Maryland and the nation’s capital.

“Partnering with BrandStory is part of our strategic plan because it allows us to expand and to still be in on the ground floor of the growth of the Chinese market,” said Ron Kuhlman, VP Tourism Marketing and Sales for the Virginia Beach CVB. “The Chinese office will complement our international sales efforts, which already include offices in Brussels and Montreal.”

The Virginia Beach CVB, a government department responsible for promoting year-round leisure, business, meetings and conventions, international and sports travel to Virginia’s most populous city, has invested resources in international travel marketing since the late 1980s. The Virginia Beach CVB also launched an international version of its website this week- — with hopes of driving increased online traffic to assist with the Chinese traveler’s decision-making process. 

About the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau ( Where the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay meet, Virginia Beach promises visitors a unique chance to “Live the Life.” Nature at its finest, just-caught and just-picked local food, and toes-in-the-sand relaxation combine for a soul-satisfying experience. A world-renowned boardwalk, energetic downtown, state-of-the-art Convention Center, abundant parks and waterways, and mild weather give rise to an active lifestyle and flourishing local culture. The Virginia Beach CVB is responsible for promoting year-round leisure, business, meetings and conventions, international and sports travel to Virginia’s most populous city. For media information and images, visit Follow Virginia Beach on Twitter at, Instagram at, Facebook at and Pinterest at

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