Warner: Tourism is alive and well

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2005

Staff Report

Suffolk was among the cities Gov. Mark Warner mentioned this week as part of anticipated statewide tourism boom.

Warner noted that Virginia has booked 187 meetings with an estimated economic impact of nearly $35 million as a result of Executive Order Six.

Email newsletter signup

In the first weeks of the administration, the governor directed state agencies, boards and commissions to develop and implement plans to recruit regional and national conferences via organizations to which they pay dues.

&uot;With the opening of the Richmond Convention Center and the Hampton Roads Convention Center….openings of convention and meeting facilities in Virginia Beach, Wytheville, and Suffolk, the meetings industry in Virginia is ready to take off,&uot; Warner said.

&uot;These projects alone represent an increase in the state’s meeting capacity of more than 40,000 conventioneers. We also can expect interest to be generated in holding meetings in Virginia to coincide with the 2007 Jamestown commemoration.&uot;

Warner added that tourism employs more than 280,000 Virginians, and that the executive order enlisted

the help of the entire state workforce to attract conventions and meetings

&uot;It is important that state employees pursue professional growth and share ideas through membership in national and regional organizations, and it just makes sense to ask these employees to be aggressive in urging their associations to meet in Virginia.&uot;

The Virginia Tourism Corporation is charged with spearheading and coordinating this effort. Among the meetings and conventions that have been confirmed since Executive Order Six was issued are:

The International Rural Network and The Rural Policy Research Institute, 400 delegates, Abingdon, 2005;

– American Bus Association Annual Convention, 3500 delegates, Virginia Beach 2008;

Outdoor Writers Association of America, 600 delegates, Roanoke, 2007;

American Society of Highway Engineers, 500 delegates, Williamsburg, 2006;

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 400 delegates, Arlington, 2006;

&uot;We are gratified by the Governor’s personal involvement in recruiting this large economic sector to the state,&uot; said Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Commission.

&uot;Virginia’s first class facilities and transportation system, combined with our scenic and historic attractions, make the Commonwealth a meeting planner’s paradise.&uot;

Tourism is a $15 billion industry in Virginia, providing $2 billion in state and local taxes.

Meetings and conventions alone contribute $800 million annually to the state’s economy.

For more information on Virginia meetings and conventions, visit www.virginia.org/meetings.

Created and maintained by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, this site provides information on Virginia facilities, convention and visitor bureaus, accommodations, and local and regional contacts for meeting planners.