Research Studies Point to Continued Tourism Growth

Tourism industry continues to serve as a vital economic driver for Virginia Beach

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Research recently released by U.S. Travel Association (USTA) and Longwoods International confirms the travel and tourism industry in Virginia Beach is strong and continues to grow at a steady pace. USTA research released by the state's tourism authority, Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), shows the city has experienced increases for the past five consecutive years (2014 – 2018) in several key economic impact classifications. The Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has aligned with VTC to share visitor expenditure data supplied by USTA, a 501(c)(6) organization representing all components of the travel industry, and the industry's trusted source for national tourism and travel data.  

Visitation research conducted by Longwoods International shows a record 20.2 million visitors traveled to Virginia Beach in 2018, a 6% increase over 2017. Overnight visitation grew to 10.5 million and day visitation reached 9.7 million. Key economic indicator increases for 2018 reported by USTA include:

  • Virginia Beach visitors spent a record $1.63 billion in 2018, an increase of 4.4 % over 2017;
  • Local tax receipts grew 2.3%, exceeding $62.6 million;
  • State tax receipts reported in at $77.2 million, representing an almost 3% increase;
  • Payroll for travel and tourism related jobs in Virginia Beach rose 3.5%.

"From Atlantic Avenue to Town Center and beyond, Virginia Beach offers a unique selling proposition as a vibrant coastal leisure, sports and business destination offering visitors a diversity of experiences. Our residents benefit year-round from increased entertainment and attraction options and a tax base that is subsidized thanks to the continuous growth of our tourism industry," said Interim CVB Director Ron Kuhlman. 

With Virginia is for Lovers celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, VTC took the opportunity to look back on historic economic impact data. The economic impact of travel in the Commonwealth has grown from $1.3 billion ($8.6 billion in 2018 dollars) in 1969 to $26 billion in 2018, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.4 percent.

"Virginia's tourism industry continues to transform communities across the Commonwealth by stimulating our local economies, generating positive growth, and creating jobs and opportunity for our citizens," said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. "From coast to cliff, Virginia's rich history, charming small towns, booming culinary scene, beautiful mountain vistas and warm, sunny beaches have positioned the Commonwealth to be a premier travel destination in the United States. As we look ahead to the next 50 years, we invite visitors from across the country and the around the world to discover for themselves 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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