Arlington Generates 13 Percent of Va. Tourism Revenue

by ARLnow.com October 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm 3,261 32 Comments

The tourism industry is on the rise in Arlington.

According to new state tourism figures, visitors spent nearly $2.5 billion in Arlington in 2010, an increase of more than 6 percent compared to 2009. Tourism revenue was still down slightly from its peak in 2008.

Tourism was responsible for 23,164 jobs and a total payroll of $790 million in Arlington in 2010, according to the Virginia Tourism Corporation. The county collected some $72 million in tax receipts as a result of tourism, and the state collected $81 million from Arlington tourists.

Arlington remained the top destination for tourists in Virginia, responsible for 13 percent of overall tourism-related spending in the Commonwealth.

“We’re happy to see such healthy increases in guest spending and tourism payrolls, especially in light of ongoing economic challenges,” said Emily Cassell, director of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service, in a statement. “Huge credit goes to Arlington’s hospitality businesses — 43 hotels and hundreds of stores, restaurants and service providers committed to offering an excellent visitor experience at every opportunity.”

  • steve

    OMG tourists mean more CO2 emmissions! we need to stop this!!

  • Cheescake Factory

    YAAAAAYYY Tourism!

  • Bender

    No tourists come to Arlington to see any tourist sites in Arlington per se, none.

    Any tourists who come here do so because of Arlington’s proximity to D.C. (e.g. to stay at Arlington hotels to see sites in D.C.) and to see sites here connected to the federal government (the Cemetery, the Pentagon).

    And anyone who lives in D.C. or Maryland who comes to Arlington for dinner, etc., can hardly be called a “tourist,” although I’m sure that they have been in order to cook the books.

    • Bingo.

      • Actually, if you count drinking in the bars of Arlington by those who live outside of Arlington as tourist dollars, then I could see it.

    • Mr. Brown

      By your logic, no one goes to DC to see anything about DC either… they only go to see things connected to the federal government (the Capitol, the WH, the Smithonians.)

      As for cooking the books…. no one cares.

    • We’re #1

      According to the website, “The information is based on domestic visitor spending from per person trips taken 50 miles or more away from home”, so DC and local Marylanders wouldn’t count in these figures.

      • V Dizzle

        Bender and OB, you’ve been served (I say 2002 slang is still cool).

    • G

      There’s the Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, Air Force Memorial…

    • eyes wide shut

      Well, if you rule out sites in Arlington attractive to tourists — like the Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon — then I guess you can say no tourist come to sites in Arlington. None, as you say. So don’t forget to rule out the people getting off (tour) busses at the Air Force Memorial, walking to the Twilight Tattoo at the Iwo Jima, riding BikeShare bikes on the Mt. Vernon trail, running the Marine Corps Marathon, watching a play at Signature Theatre. There are probably more sites in Arlington you should also rule out.

    • drax

      So what?

    • Michael H.

      Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon don’t count because they are connected to the federal gov’t? What kind of logic is that? Besides the other attractions mentioned by others, there are other major events such as the Army Ten-Miler and the Air Force Cycling Classic. Both attract visitors and participants from across the country and from other countries.

      Why are you so bitter about Arlington having its own tourists?

    • RosRes

      Bender – So what? Money = Money.

      • drax


        Someone always has to find a way to discount any good news about Arlington, as if it’s always about the County Board Democrats.

    • Calabria

      Please. We all know that people visit Arlington to go to the Ballston Common Mall.

  • Nick

    “Definition of Terms

    There is no commonly accepted definition of travel in use at this time. For the purposes of the estimates herein, travel is defined as activities associated with all overnight and day trips to places 50 miles away or more, one way, from the traveler’s origin and any overnight trips away from home in paid accommodations.

    The word tourism is avoided in this report because of its vague meaning. Some define tourism as all travel away from home while others use the dictionary definition that limits tourism to personal or pleasure travel.

    The travel industry, as used herein, refers to the collection of 18 types of businesses that provide goods and services to the traveler or potential traveler at the retail level (see Glossary of Terms). With the exception of Amtrak and second home ownership and rental, these business types are defined by the Office of Management and Budget in the 1997 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and well as in its predecessor, the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC). In each case, the relevant NAICS and SIC codes are included. ”


  • Michelle

    “Tourism was responsible for 23,164 jobs”

    Can one more job be created specifically to shove tourists into more than one metro car or at least use more than one car doo?

    • Michelle

      Aw yes, doo = door.

    • Wayne Kubicki

      I just love numbers like this one. 23,164 jobs in Arlington from tourism. Just dying to know how that calculation was made with that kind of precision – and who made it!

      The County budget book says there are 208K jobs here.

      Putting the two together, that would mean that 1 out of 9 jobs is from tourism. That sound right to anyone?

      • RosRes

        Yes actually. It does sound about right. We have a great many hotels, tour buses, etc. Anyone who has been around the hospitality industry would not be surprised by this number, or the fact that it is carefully tracked by the County.

      • Arlwhenver

        Mr. Kubicki, Mariott International and US Airways are top ten private sector employers in Arlington (per Arlco’s annual finanial report). BLS reports around one in 11 employees in Arlco/Alex/DC work in the leisure hospitality/industry (establishment survey which is quite reliable). Since Reagan National is in Arlington, it makes since that Arlington would have a somewhat higher ratio, like one in nine.

    • drax

      That guy on the Orange Line who constantly says “More than one doooooooor” and instructs people in detail on how to get on and off should get the salary of two guys. He’s got a smooth DJ voice too – I call him Old Spice Guy.

  • MC

    How ironic that Republicans in Richmond have wanted to take away Arlington’s hotel tax earmark to promote tourism. In addition to people coming to visit the military landmarks mentioned, some people come specifically for conventions that are held in Arlington – Crystal City hosts a fair number of these.

    • Burger

      You have it backwards. If tourist come to Arlington for whatever reason and there has been an increase since the removal of the hotel tax then it is pretty clear the hotel tax had no impact on people’s decision to come to Arlington. thus, it is egregious use of tax payer money and just like that pesky telephone tax that was to pay for the spanish-american war but still charged 100 years later should be removed.

      • drax

        Hey, I think the federal government is still in debt since the Spanish-American War though.

  • Tre

    How is this possible when the Artisphere’s revenue is 75% below budget???

    • Patrick

      Jay Fisette asked the same thing.

  • chihuahua

    Their experience on Metro ensures that out of town tourists will never return.

    • drax

      Maybe if they are those tea partiers who whined that the government-run Metro didn’t spend more money to accomodate their rally.

      • Steve99

        You just don’t understand what the Tea Party is about.

  • LPS4DL

    I’m sure Richmond is quite happy to receive these funds from Arlington’s businesses. Too bad Richmond won’t kick in it’s share to promote tourism.

  • nota gain

    Artisphere’s budget is below 75% due to being a boring place. I dont think any budget could improve that place.


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