By Tyson Compton
President, Cabell-Huntington Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In recognition of travel’s great impact on Huntington, the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau is in the midst of observing and celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week, which is May 2-10, 2015.
Since 1983, the U.S. Travel Association has devoted a week each May to celebrating the industry around the country. The West Virginia Department of Tourism is also highlighting a series of events and initiatives aimed at letting visitors across the state know that they need to “Get Out and Play!”
The dollars spent by visitors have strengthened, and continue to build, our economy by creating jobs, supporting local businesses from gas stations to retail stores and generating tax revenues to support our community.
The most recent facts on the direct impacts of travel in the state of West Virginia include:
- Travel spending by all overnight and day visitors in West Virginia was $5.1 billion in the 2012 calendar year. This is equivalent to approximately $13.9 million per day.
- Travel spending in West Virginia has increased by 6.3 percent per year since 2000. In constant dollars (adjusted for inflation), travel spending has increased by 3.3 percent over the same period.
- Visitors who stayed overnight in commercial lodging facilities spent $1.5 billion in 2012 – or about one-third of all travel spending in the state. Day travelers who spent substantially on gaming and entertainment spent nearly $2.5 billion, or about one-half (49 percent) the state total.
- During 2012, visitor spending in West Virginia directly supported about 46,400 jobs with earnings of $1.1 billion. Travel spending generated the greatest number of jobs in accommodations and food services, and arts, entertainment, recreation.
- Local and state government revenues generated by travel spending were $707 million in 2012 (does not include property taxes). Without these government revenues generated by travel spending, each household in West Virginia would have had to pay an additional $924 in state and local taxes!