2019 Was Another Record Year for Loudoun Tourism

Tourism brought almost $2 billion to the Loudoun economy in 2019, the sixth straight year of growth for Loudoun County tourism, according to the latest data released by the US Travel Association.

The data from 2019 highlights some of what was lost during 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic—and the ground the industry is working to make up.

“Tourism remained a strong segment of Loudoun’s economy last year, but we know this industry that we love took a devasting hit in 2020,” said Visit Loudoun President and CEO Beth Erickson. “Tourism is a critical part of the community and the fact that we show year-over-year growth, demonstrates we are a strong and resilient industry poised to recover. It may take some time, but we will be ready to celebrate when we surpass $2 billion in revenue one day.”

Loudoun was the third highest tourism revenue generator in the commonwealth, bringing in $1.9 billion in visitor spending, up 3.6 percent from 2018, according to the data. Tourism also supported 17,809 jobs and generated $755 million in wages in Loudoun.

In addition to increased spending, tourism-related state tax receipts for Loudoun in 2019 were about $50.8 million, up 4.6 percent, and local tax receipts were at $29.6 million, up 3.6 percent.

Last year, Visit Loudoun lead the Summer of Love campaign, with 28 events that attracted almost 40,000 people and got national media attention. 2019 was also the year Loudoun opened Ion International Training Center and a new Home2Suites by Hilton—the first hotel to open in Loudoun in five years.

Early numbers for 2020 project a sharp decrease in tourism spending, despite some hopeful signs for an eventual recovery. As the pandemic escalated through March and April, Visit Loudoun pivoted with a variety of initiatives to support tourism and hospitality partners. The organization’s efforts were recognized Wednesday when it received the Hospitality Hero Business award from the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association.

Those efforts included an online partner portal with access to up-to-date guidelines, information about financial assistance programs, data and analytics. Visit Loudoun also launched a 16-week webinar series, which more than 500 industry professionals attended to learn about everything from leveraging social media to applying for various federal loans and grants.

The Visit Loudoun Foundation, in coordination with both the Community Foundation and the Loudoun Chamber Foundation, created the Loudoun Tourism and Hospitality Relief Fund. That fund distributed more than $98,000 through charitable organizations to provide direct financial assistance to individuals who work or were working in the Loudoun tourism and hospitality industry.

Visit Loudoun, along with Loudoun Economic Development and the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, also launched the “Loudoun Is Ready” campaign, which unites business owners who pledge to follow the latest safety guidelines. More than 700 businesses signed onto the campaign.

According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, tourism in Virginia generated $27 billion in visitor spending in 2019, its 10th consecutive year of growth. The tourism industry also supported 237,000 jobs for Virginia communities and provided $1.8 billion in state and local revenue. Virginia ranks 8th in the nation for domestic travel spending.

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