Photo via Visit Loudoun
Digital Properties Manager
According to a new report released by the U.S. Travel Association, Loudoun County’s domestic tourism industry increased 2.9 percent in 2016, to a total economic impact of $1.69 billion.
That ranks third in the Commonwealth of Virginia, supporting 17,225 jobs and generating $663.4 million in wages, up 5 percent from 2015.
Domestic tourism is defined as American visitors who travel 50 miles or more, but does not attempt to capture Loudoun’s nearly 7.5 million international travelers through Dulles International Airport.
“Loudoun is a leader in Virginia’s tourism industry,” Visit Loudoun President and CEO Beth Erickson said. “Developments like the artisan trail, our wine country passport, and the LoCo Ale Trail keep our destination top–of–mind to visitors and provide unique options for people to explore our county.”
Loudoun is home to more than 40 wineries and 20-plus craft breweries, both figures that lead Virginia. In addition, the county’s leading equine industry, farm tours, historic places and extensive food and entertainment options serve as a destination for consumer spending.
Tourism-related state tax receipts for Loudoun in 2016 were about $45.7 million, up 4.8 percent, and local tax receipts were at $27.2 million, up 4.9 percent.
Across the commonwealth, visitors support 230,000 Virginia jobs, thanks to more than 45 million visitors last year alone.
Loudoun is a leader in agri-tourism, which is fueled by 1,400 related businesses across Virginia, supporting 22,000 jobs, generating $840 million in income, and injecting $135 million in state and local taxes.
A study released in April shows that Northern Virginia generates the most agri-tourism revenue of all 10 state regions, contributing more than $552 million to Virginia’s $2.2 billion agri-tourism industry. Loudoun farm businesses make up 51 percent of the Northern Virginia’s agri-tourism venues researched for the report.
“What you have here is so idyllic. It’s very, very impressive. It’s what Virginia agriculture is all about,” Virgina Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden said at a recent Loudoun event. “That’s what it is all about—to keep the innovation going and to keep the creativity going.
“You people really get it here in Loudoun County. You really understand what needs to be done.”
A separate economic impact study released this year showed that the amateur sports tourism industry was worth $20.5 million to Loudoun last year alone.
“As the fifth largest private employer in Virginia, the travel industry is an important sector of the Virginia economy,” said Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore, “contributing to the quality of life for our residents and making Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”