Virginia seeks relief to boost tourism and hospitality industry

Published on : Tuesday, August 3, 2021

There are more than 800 businesses and business associations are jointly urging the Virginia General Assembly to approve a budget item for $291 million in relief to the travel and hospitality industries, which was proposed by Gov. Ralph Northam.

Northam’s proposal would appropriate funds from the federally passed American Rescue Plan to help these industries bounce back from losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic restrictions. The General Assembly is scheduled to meet on Aug. 2 to consider the budget proposal.

The businesses and business associations signed a joint letter showing their support. It includes the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Restaurant Lodging and Travel Association.

Duval said that this multi-billion industry in Virginia was the hardest hit sector of Virginia’s economy. With Virginia’s mild climate, historical areas, diverse geography and location to the nation’s Capital, the Commonwealth is an ideal location for vacationers, conferences, and outdoor enthusiasts. To help this important part of Virginia’s economy rebound, the Chamber supports additional investments in this industry to help it recover from the pandemic induced downturn in the economy.

The tourism and hospitality saw record losses during the pandemic and one in five restaurants in the commonwealth were forced to shut down. The industries currently face between 200% to 300% in increased costs and are not able to fully staff their businesses, according to the Virginia Restaurant Lodging and Travel Association.

Eric Terry, the president of the association, said that the crisis for Virginia’s tourism and hospitality industry is still very much ongoing, even as other industries resume a sense of normal.

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