Visitors spent billions in Virginia in 2018

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Tourism revenues in Virginia increased by more than four percent in 2018.

Governor Ralph Northam announced on Monday that the tourism industry generated $26 billion in visitor spending across the Commonwealth for the year, which is up 4.4 percent from 2017.

This helped support 234,000 jobs, which also increased by one percent over 2017, and provided $1.8 billion in state and local revenues, up 2.9 percent.

"Virginia's tourism industry continues to transform communities across the commonwealth by stimulating our local economies, generating positive growth, and creating jobs and opportunity for our citizens," said Northam. "From coast to cliff, Virginia's rich history, charming small towns, booming culinary scene, beautiful mountain vistas, and warm sunny beaches have positioned the Commonwealth to be a premier travel destination in the United States."

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Virginia is for Lovers slogan, which was created by the Richmond-based firm Martin and Woltz, now called Martin Agency, in 1969.

The Virginia Tourism Corporation is looking back on the last 50 years at the economic impact tourism has had, including increasing from $1.3 billion in 1969 to $26 billion in 2018. That $1.3 billion would equal about $8.6 billion at 2018 dollar values.

Across Virginia, business and communities are celebrating the impact of tourism, including payroll for employees.

Locally, several business and events in Nelson County are participating in the 50 Years of Love campaign, including the LOCKN' Festival, Veritas Vineyard and Winery, Blue Mountain Brewery, Drumheller's Apple Harvest Festivals, and others.

For more information on the 50 Years of Love campaign, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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