PRESS RELEASE

FROM: Martha Burton
Director of Tourism

DATE: For release on or
after September 7, 2017

Increased Tourism Spending in The Best PART of Virginia
is an Important Contributor to the Region’s Economy

Visitors to The Best PART of Virginia, which encompasses the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg and Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George Counties, spent $364 million in 2016, an increase of $15.6 million over what visitors spent in 2015, according to U. S. Travel Association (USTA) data reported to the Virginia Tourism Corporation. This data is based upon domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the U. S.) from per person trips taken 50 miles or more from home. The expenditures include meals, lodging, public transportation, auto transportation, shopping, admissions and entertainment. Local governments in the region collected $26.7 million in local tax revenue resulting from these expenditures, while the Commonwealth received over $15.8 million as a result of tourism activity here. Each of the six PART localities saw increases in tourism spending. Tourism supports over 3,750 jobs in The Best PART of Virginia, generating a payroll of $73+ million.

On September 5th, Governor Terry McAuliffe released the 2016 tourism economic impact data by locality. Tourism expenditures in the Commonwealth reached $23.7 billion last year. “Virginia’s tourism industry is a critical component of the new Virginia economy, providing jobs for our citizens and funneling millions of dollars back into our communities”, said Governor McAuliffe.

Rick Young, President of the Petersburg Area Regional Tourism Board of Directors, said “PART is thrilled to welcome large numbers of visitors to The Best PART of Virginia and gratified that PART numbers reflect continuing growth. PART is contributing to growth in the region’s economy through its marketing initiatives”. We know that the number of visits to the PART website and Facebook page continue to grow and we are contacted daily by people from throughout the country who request information about this area, but it is especially exciting when the numbers are released and they confirm PART’s message- there is much to see, to do, to experience and to enjoy in The Best PART of Virginia”.

The Best PART of Virginia is presented through its very visual website, www.petersburgarea.org. There is a calendar of events, an extensive dining section, a section about Buy Fresh Buy Local in the region and a section devoted to sites for events and weddings. Data indicates that PART averages 45,000 visits to its website monthly, and the average number of Facebook impressions monthly is 100,000. It is always a “work in progress” so please continue to visit the website to find out about upcoming events. PART also uses Facebook extensively to market events in the region- www.facebook.com/petersburg.region.

During the past year PART participated in a television campaign that incorporated a Southern Weekends promotional opportunity in markets throughout the south in conjunction with Raycom, in addition to other advertising in the WWBT and WTVR markets in Virginia. Last month we had a segment on dining on WTVR’s prime time special, See Virginia.

PART continues to produce a vibrant Visitor Guide, LOVE Happens in the Best PART of Virginia. These guides are distributed through all of Virginia’s welcome centers, many local visitor centers throughout Virginia, and in retail outlets throughout the Richmond Metro Area.

Contact Martha Burton, Director of Tourism at PART, with questions or to obtain copies of the visitor guide; mburton@craterpdc.org or (804) 861-1666 and please visit our website and “friend us” on Facebook.