May 10, 2005
Professionals in the tourism industry are recognized in honor of National Tourism Week. The Charlottesville Newsplex took a look at the $15 billion dollar industry, and now tells us where Virginia ranks in tourism nationwide.
Virginia's Department of Tourism brings in $15 billion dollars a year, and markets Virginia as a premier travel destination. Our slogan, "Virginia Is For Lovers," is known practically everywhere, and apparently it's true. Virginia is the tenth most visited state nationwide.
"It's a very competitive market, but things like the wine industry and horse country are things travelers really want now-a-days," says Alisa Bailey, President of the Virginia Department of Tourism.
With many people taking long vacations, and Virginia very well geographically placed to hot spots along the eastern corridor including the Nation's Capitol and New York City. We also took a hit financially due to the Attacks of September 11th.
"Virginia was on the upswing of growth, and after 9/11 we really flattened out, and had a little dip. We even lost market share," said President Bailey.
As of last year, market share for the Commonwealth was on the rise again. Just recently, the legendary rock band Rolling Stones announced plans to play in Charlottesville. Their concert is certainly seen as a boost for the tourism industry.
"Obviously having the Rolling Stones here in the region should be a huge boost. It should be like a mini-Olympics," said President Bailey.
The week long celebration continues through Friday, May 13 with over 400 tourism professionals from across the country will converge on Mount Vernon to clean-up debris left behind from Hurricane Isabel.