By Tiffany Twine
Special to the New Journal and Guide
The Virginia Beach tourism industry experienced a record 2011 for overall lodging sales, according to Convention and Visitors Bureau statistics from the Commissioner of Revenue, revealing significant increases in lodging sales and related tax revenue in 2011 for the hospitality industry.
“The tourism industry has had back-to-back record years,” said James B. Ricketts, director of the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We credit this success to product development and aggressive market diversification.” Visitor spending on overnight accommodations, including hotels, cottages, campgrounds and timeshare/condo rentals is the best indicator of the city’s tourism industry’s overall health, said Ricketts.
Statistics demonstrate that lodging sales – including Sandbridge lodging, campground sales and related tax revenue – were at an all-time high. Total citywide sales were more than $279 million, a 1.7 percent increase over 2010. Citywide restaurant sales, retail sales and amusement revenue were also up. Restaurants sales were up to more than $946 million, a 4 percent rise.
Retail sales were up to more than $5.2 billion, a 2.5 percent increase. Amusement sales were up to more than $45 million, a 1.9 percent increase. Participatory sports sales were down to $15.9 million, a 6.2 percent drop. The 2011 Summer Overnight Profile of Virginia Beach shows that overnight visitors to Virginia Beach had an average household income of $92,982; length of stay, 4.4 days; average party size of four; spending per party was $1,969; 91.4 percent of visitors plan to return; 27 percent were first-time visitors. Contact Tiffany Twine, with the
Convention and Visitors Bureau, at 757-385-4700 or ttwine@VisitVirginaBeach.com.