EASTERN SHORE OF VIRGINIA — The tourism economy on Virginia’s Eastern Shore continues its record growth with visitor spending increasing 2.6 percent in 2015 compared to the prior year and a growth rate almost twice that of the state’s 1.4 percent. The ESVA region ranked #2 in the state in growth in 2015, nudged out of two years in the top spot by Northern Virginia.
The ESVA was the Commonwealth’s second fastest growing economy in 2015.
The data, released by the Virginia Tourism Corporation each fall, provides a snapshot of key tourism economic indicators for each of ten tourism regions across the Commonwealth.
In 2015, visitors to the Eastern Shore spent a record $261 million at restaurants, B&BS, hotels, campgrounds, shops, galleries, museums, attractions and on other travel-related items. This translates to an average of $71,500 a day streaming into businesses from Cape Charles to Chincoteague. Travelers also contribute sales, lodging and meals tax to the ESVA economy and in 2015, local tax revenues totaled $7 million here, a whopping 6 percent increase from the year prior, and an increase of 22 percent since 2010. Local tax dollars flow directly into Northampton and Accomack counties and towns.
More good news for the Eastern Shore is a hefty 5.1 percent increase in tourism payroll in 2015, a total of $54 million, and a 3.1 percent increase in tourism-related jobs, which now number 2,910.
“As chairman of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission, I want to congratulate our tourism partners on another banner year,” said Larry LeMond, chairman of the Eastern Shore Tourism Commission Board of Directors. “Year after year, the numbers show that our tourism industry keeps growing and is a major driver of the economy in both Accomack and Northampton counties. We all know that we live in a beautiful area and now it is being discovered by more and more people every year.”
The Virginia Eastern Show shows sustained and record growth due to a combination of factors, said Kerry Allison, executive director of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission, which markets the region to consumers across the mid-Atlantic. “We have things here that are, increasingly, in short supply in the rest of the world: Pristine and wild outdoor places and friendly residents who treat others with a deep humanity. Add in a rich tapestry of things to do, interesting places to stay and places to eat. Then, realize we are a short drive from millions and millions of Americans on the Eastern Seaboard. It’s a compelling mix.”
The Virginia Tourism Corporation compiles its annual economic impact data from the U.S. Travel Association. The information is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from per-person trips taken 50 miles or more away from home. Detailed economic impact data by locality is available on www.vatc.org under Research.
The Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission is funded by lodging tax that visitors pay when they visit here. The ESVATC manages the website www.esvatourism.org, with comprehensive tourism-related listings and events for visitors; produces an annual visitor guide; manages a major publishing platform to distribute content to potential visitors; implements an integrated strategic marketing program; and manages the Southern Gateway Welcome Center at the CBBT, all at no cost to local residents on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.