Visitor spending in Henrico tops $870 million in 2017

12/07/17
Visitor spending in Henrico tops $870 million in 2017

There’s always something going on in the Richmond region. In 2017, there was a whole lot going on – as visitors spent more than $870 million in Henrico County. Whether biking along the Capital Trail, attending a conference at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, or enjoying the thrill of a NASCAR race at the Richmond Raceway, visitors relied on Henrico County’s ample supply of hotel and lodging accommodations more than ever. 

Henrico hotels and attractions are a major part of what makes Greater Richmond one of the “Best Places to Travel,” according to Travel and Leisure. In particular, Henrico’s growing number of hotels and lodging has helped the region capitalize on visitor opportunities. “Henrico County hotels make up nearly half the Richmond region’s hotel inventory,” said Jack Berry, president and CEO, Richmond Region Tourism. He added, “These room nights are a key factor for our sales team when bidding on large meetings, conventions and sports tournaments.”

Aloft property lobby

The County has more than 8,500 hotel rooms at more than 70 hotels. Whether on a business trip at the Virginia Crossings Hotel & Conference Center, a getaway at the historic Virginia Cliffe Inn, or a weekend of shopping near the newly opened Aloft in Short Pump, Henrico has a hotel to suit everyone’s budget and needs. “With its breadth of properties, Henrico has lodging near all of its shopping and holiday assets, including the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights, which brings in tens of thousands of visitors during the winter holiday season,” said Dawn Miller, tourism supervisor, Henrico County Recreation and Parks.

Virginia Crossings Hotel & Conference Center

Impact of Travel

Travel has become a major industry for Henrico and Greater Richmond. In 2016, more than 7 million people visited the region and spent more than $2.2 billion on local hotels, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. The region’s tourism industry supports an estimated 23,600 jobs and contributes more than $69 million in local taxes. To see the full report, click here.

In Henrico County alone, visitors spent a record $879 million on travel in 2016, up 18% from 2012. Businesses throughout the county are getting in on the action as recent developments like the Richmond Raceway expansion and the under-construction 135-room Home2 Suites by Hilton in Innsbrook attest.

Henrico’s parks and sports complexes are growing in popularity as well, as these hosted 135 tournaments in 2016, and generated an estimated $46.1 million in local spending. Yet there is room for growth in sports tourism, as Henrico’s $87.1 million bond issue will fund the construction of tournament-quality fields at two new parks, replace all high school athletic fields with all-weather synthetic turf, and enhance the amenities at several other county facilities. 

“Tourism is a major driver of Henrico’s and our region’s economies,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “By staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and supporting other businesses, visitors contribute directly to our high quality of life. Their spending supports jobs and investment, and it helps to fund a variety of public services, including schools, parks and public safety.”

Tourism isn’t the only thing driving visitors to Henrico. As the employment hub for Central Virginia, travel for business training, conferences, and meetings is a major draw as well. With four Fortune 500 company headquarters, an international airport, and a central location on the East Coast, Henrico businesses attract a critical amount of business-related travel to the region.  

While Henrico businesses and residents benefit from the growing travel industry, attracting visitors to the region is a collaborative effort. A portion of the hotel taxes generated from overnight stays goes to destination marketing efforts led by Richmond Region Tourism, stretching those visitor dollars even further. Those efforts to draw in visitors are working, as the Richmond International Airport broke its record for passenger traffic in October 2017.

Travel is alive and well in the Greater Richmond area, and there’s no better place to stay than in Henrico. Whether you’re here visiting for the holidays or planning to come in the near future, start your journey at visithenrico.com.