International Visitation to Virginia Jumps 16 Percent

15 Nov 2010 10:14 AM | Anonymous

RICHMOND – Virginia bucked a national trend and posted a 16 percent increase in visits from overseas travelers in 2009, despite the recession and an overall decrease in international visitors nationally.  Data from a recent U.S. Department of Commerce report showed that Virginia posted the greatest percentage increase for international visitors amongst the states and territories surveyed.

The news comes from the 2009 Overseas Visitation to U.S. States, Cities and Traveler Characteristics Data report, detailing how various destinations fared and which origin markets and characteristics contributed to those results. Of the 20 states/territories for which estimates are available, double-digit declines were suffered by 10 states. Virginia visitation increased by 16 percent, leading growth among the six states posting growth in 2009.   International visits to Virginia grew from 329,000 in 2008 to 380,000 in 2009.  Virginia moved up from 18 to 14 in ranking for overseas visitors to U.S. states.

“This is tremendous news for Virginia. Even in a difficult economy, individuals from across the world are seeking out Virginia for business and vacation.” said Governor Bob McDonnell.  “Our commitment to expanding resources for tourism and aggressively marketing Virginia overseas will help us further capitalize on this growth and increase the revenue generated by visitors to our state. The more visitors we welcome, the more jobs we create and the quicker our economy will rebound.  By taking proactive steps, such as opening new trade offices in Great Britain, China and India in the year ahead, we will build on this positive development.”

Virginia markets to international travelers through Capital Region USA, a partnership between Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland.  The alliance encourages travelers coming into the nation’s Capitol to visit surrounding areas including Virginia.  Dulles International Airport is located in Virginia.  This major international hub serves 47 international destinations with 443 weekly arrivals.

“Virginia is reaping the benefits of Dulles International Airport and our proximity to the nation’s Capitol,” said Alisa Bailey, President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation.  “International travelers stay longer and spend more money per trip, helping to increase revenues through tourism for Virginia.”

Tourism is one of Virginia’s most powerful industries – generating $19.2 billion in revenue, supporting 210,000 jobs and providing $1.28 billion in state and local taxes.

The international visitation report from the U.S. Department of Commerce is available online.

For more information about travel in Virginia, visit or call 1-800-VISITVA to request a free, Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.


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