New Tourism Data Shows Significant Economic Impact Increase, Record-Breaking Annual Visitation Numbers

Research shows 2016 was fifth year of consecutive tourism growth

Thursday, October 05, 2017

​Research released by U.S. Travel Association confirms the travel and tourism industry in Virginia Beach is strong and continues to grow at a steady pace. The research, reported by Virginia Tourism Corporation, shows the city has experienced increases for the past five consecutive years (2012 – 2016) in several key economic impact classifications:

  • Virginia Beach visitors spent a record $1.49 billion in 2016, an increase of 6.2 percent over 2015;
  • Local tax receipts grew 8.3 percent, reaching almost $59.5 million;
  • State tax receipts were reported at $72.5 million, representing an 8.2 percent increase;
  • Employment in travel and tourism related jobs in Virginia Beach grew by 5.6 percent, increasing payroll by a substantial 8.5 percent to more than $277 million.

Visitation research conducted by Longwoods International shows a record 15.2 million visitors traveled to Virginia Beach in 2016, a 9.4 percent increase over 2015. Overnight visitation grew to 7.1 million and day visitation reached 8.1 million. 

"Visitors to Virginia Beach enjoy a diversity of experiences in our coastal city," said Brad Van Dommelen, director of the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. "From Atlantic Avenue to Sandbridge to Town Center and beyond, Virginia Beach offers a unique selling proposition as an energetic, coastal city vacation destination. Our residents benefit year-round from increased entertainment and attraction options and a tax base that is subsidized thanks to our robust tourism industry."

On a state level, spending by domestic travelers to Virginia in 2016 equaled $65 million a day. Overall travel expenditures increased 3.3 percent to $23.7 billion. As the fifth largest private employer in Virginia, the travel and tourism industry supported more than 229,000 jobs and $5.6 billion in payroll. 

"Virginia's tourism industry is a critical component of the new Virginia economy, providing jobs for our citizens and funneling millions of dollars back into our communities," said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. "We have traveled across the globe to promote Virginia as a premier travel destination, showcasing our beautiful scenery, rich history, and incredible culinary offerings, in addition to our outstanding oysters, wine, craft beer, cider, and distilled spirits. I am committed to the continued growth of this important industry, and to showing the world why Virginia is for Lovers."

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

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