Tell the truth, would you be surprised to learn that
tourism spending in Virginia hit record levels in 2011? It increased a full 8%
over 2010. You might think that with an anemic economy overall that this kind
of growth in travel expenditures is stunning.
I’m not surprised at all.
First, we have seen some data over recent months showing
that the travel sector was growing and adding jobs faster than other sectors of
the economy. I have shared my theory on that in this space recently.
Second, if you take one of the world’s best-known brands,
Virginia is for Lovers, and combine it with an awesome, hard-working team like
the one at the Virginia Tourism Corporation, good things are sure to happen.
Third, I know from personal involvement that there are
people all across the commonwealth that have contributed to the growth of
tourism in Virginia. Local and regional tourism professionals are getting the
word out about their own communities through traditional advertising, online,
social media, blogging and public relations. The VTC’s highly successful
Marketing Leverage Partnership Grants help local DMOs accomplish more. It's a winning formula.
As for Mikula|Harris, we are thrilled and proud to be
part of the success of tourism in Virginia. We’ve watched with delight as our
clients have experienced growth in visitation. It feels good to make a
difference. Looking forward to seeing more great numbers for 2012.