Visitor spending increases

Published 8:51 pm Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tourism-related spending in Suffolk increased nearly 11 percent in 2011 over the prior year.

Visitors shelled out $61.8 million on such expenses as meals, lodging, shopping and entertainment, according to data just released by the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

“This is terrific news and a good indication that we are continuing to move in the right direction,” Theresa Earles, tourism development manager, wrote in an email.


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Local tax collections from visitor spending increased 5.7 percent from 2010. About $1.85 million was collected from visitor spending, according to the tourism report.

The report is generated by the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Economic Impact Model, which uses a proprietary economic model to exclude resident spending and include only spending by people who have traveled at least 50 miles from home.

Comparing the tax dollars the city collected to the amount it spends on tourism, the city took in $4 for every dollar it spent in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. That’s an increase from 2010, when it received $3.88 in taxes for every dollar invested in tourism.

Suffolk is receiving about one-third of 1 percent of statewide tourism expenditures, according to the report.

In addition, roughly 600 people in Suffolk have jobs supported by tourism with an annual payroll of $10.95 million, according to the report.

Earles also reported other increased figures related to tourism.

Attendance numbers for 2011 at the new Suffolk Visitor Center were up 41 percent from 2010 figures, she said. During the first half of 2012, attendance had again increased 14 percent from the same period in 2011.

“We hear great things from our visitors about how Suffolk is evolving, and we look forward to what the future holds for our destination,” Earles wrote.