Virginia Tourism Does Not See Expected Boost

September 4, 2007

The dramatic tourism boost that was expected this summer as Virginia celebrated the 400th anniversary of Jamestown has not developed, according to preliminary figures.

But state tourism officials are not yet convinced, even with the summer travel season ending with the Labor Day weekend. They say it will likely be early next year before all the data is processed and that any tourism ripple effect could go on for months or years.

"Awareness of the Jamestown anniversary increased from 12% in January 2005 to 50 percent May 2007. Will that translate into visitation? We will see" said Alisa Bailey, president of the Virginia Tourism Corp.

Overall, though, tourism remains big business, and some sites have benefited from the Jamestown anniversary. In 2005, tourists spent nearly $16.5 billion in Virginia, up 9.6% from 2004, and generated more than $2 billion in state and local taxes, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Travel Industry Association.

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