Visitor Spending Surpasses Two Billion Dollars for First Time
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (November 15, 2022) – The Virginia Beach Convention
& Visitor Bureau (VBCVB)  is pleased to report record-breaking
results of a recent study on the economic impact of tourism on the city.
The report details spending by Virginia Beach visitors in 2021 and was
conducted by Tourism Economics using a variety of local and national
data sources and survey tools.
Visitor spending was measured across categories including direct
purchases of lodging ($582M), food and beverage ($885M), transportation
($219M), entertainment/recreation ($218M) and retail ($194M), with
overnight travelers account for double the total spending of the day
visitors ($1.4B versus $0.7B).
Surpassing the $2 billion mark for the first time, last year’s visitor
spending was up 38% over 2020 and 8% over 2019’s pre-Covid level.
Despite a comparative dip in the number of visitors from that same year
– 11.5 million versus 13.6 million, a 15% variance – visitation is on
the rise, climbing 9.1% compared to 2020. The overnight leisure segment
leads the way with 2.88 million annual travelers, marking a 21.2% change
above last year and a 6.7% increase over 2019.
General inflation and pent-up demand propelled room rates and food and
beverage prices upwards, leveraged by record-level gas prices which
directly contributed to higher overall visitor spending by the city’s
primarily drive market audience. Virginia (29%) and North Carolina (11%)
residents remain the top two states of origin for Virginia Beach
“Tourism has always been a leading contributor to our city’s economy,”
said Nancy Helman, Virginia Beach Convention, and Visitors Bureau
director. “Emerging from one of the most challenging periods in history,
last year’s visitor spending set new records that spotlight the
intrinsic value of tourism and highlight the significant benefits it
provides our citizens. We should feel proud and inspired as we look
ahead and continue improving on what makes Virginia Beach so special.”
The $2.1 billion of spending directly by visitors created a total
economic impact of $3.3 billion, once all downstream impacts are
accounted for, like additional business-to-business sales. Virginia
Beach travel industry also supports 31,037 jobs and $808 million in
total labor income. The $295 million in state and local taxes generated
by tourism in 2021 also spares each Virginia Beach household an
additional $1,700 in annual taxes.
“Our coastal amenities provide enduring appeal for travelers who want to
‘live the life in Virginia Beach, but it’s our hospitality that
continues to lead the way for continued growth and prosperity,” adds
Helman. “A thoughtful and steady infusion of new attractions, events and
accommodations will allow Virginia Beach to remain a sought-after
destination that families will visit for generations to come, while
helping to support those lucky enough to call it home.”