Published on : Thursday, September 7, 2017
A local tourism director said Tuesday that more tourism tax revenue, 200 more tourism jobs and 20 new businesses fuelled by tourism are a part of the growing industry in Tazewell County and other parts of Virginia.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued a statement Tuesday about the state’s tourism industry, which grew by $2.2 billion in state and local taxes collected and more than $24 billion spent by visitors.
Visitor spending supports 230,000 jobs in Virginia with 16,000 of them added during McAuliffe’s tenure, according to state officials. Tourism also provides $1.7 billion in state and local taxes. Last year, Virginia had more than 45 million visitors from across the United States.
In Tazewell County, state taxes collected by the county amounted to $2,237,011 in 2016, an increase of 3.3 percent over 2015, Tourism Director David Woodard said. The 2016 local tourism taxes were $713,064, an increase of 3.4 percent over 2015. Tourists visiting Tazewell County in 2016 spent $50, 862,821, which was a 1.4 percent increase more than what was recorded in 2015.
Tazewell County has also seen more tourist-related businesses open during the past two years – not including 2017 – as well as new jobs in the service sector, Woodard said.
“Marketing efforts include online digital marketing, encompassing social media and search engine optimization; trade shows, where we talk with potential tourists one on one; and a very robust mail out/print media program,” Woodard stated.
The county is still seeing growth in the tourism industry, but how much will occur this year won’t be known until December. The tourism center currently has traffic counters deployed to measure motorcycle and other vehicle traffic being generated by visitors coming to the Back of the Dragon route, he said.
“That gives us a pretty good picture,” Woodard stated. “I believe the number of motorcycles is up.”
Motorcycle clubs and automobile clubs from across the United States and riders from other countries have been coming to ride the Back of the Dragon route. Bad fall and winter weather could adversely impact 2017’s figures, but so far the season is shaping up well, he said.