RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that the Southwest Virginia region generated more than $971 million in travel expenditures in 2014 at the 2015 Southwest Virginia Creative Economy Conference in Abingdon, Virginia.
“These numbers demonstrate how important the tourism industry is for diversifying the economy in Southwest Virginia,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Visitors who are coming to our wonderful communities are spending money and making businesses viable, which is helping to build a creative, new Virginia economy in the region and the Commonwealth as a whole.”
According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 2014 Economic Impact Report, Southwest Virginia has seen a 50 percent increase in total travel expenditures for the region since 2004. In 2014, more than $43.6 million in local meals and lodging tax revenue was generated from the travel expenditures to the region. More than 9,750 jobs exist in Southwest Virginia due to tourism, increasing by 560 jobs since 2004.
“Southwest Virginia is blessed with many assets that visitors love to experience, from music, art, culture, and heritage to outdoor recreation,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “I commend the region for taking a team approach to developing a comprehensive economic development strategy. The areas with the strongest teams will be the ones that win.”
The Southwest Virginia Creative Economy Conference has been highlighting the region’s outdoor recreation, natural assets, crafts and traditional music as the stepping stones for Southwest Virginia’s growing creative economy. The two-day conference featured Governor Terry McAuliffe as the opening speaker, and continues through tomorrow at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.