VIRGINIA BEACH - Visitors to the Va. Beach Oceanfront took in the last hours of summer vacation before packing up and hitting the road.

Verne Burlage, president of the Virginia Beach Hotel and Motel Association, says Summer 2012 saw more money flowing into the Oceanfront than last year.

'We don't have the exact room numbers yet but we're expecting a 3 to 5% increase in occupancy over last year,' says Burlage.

Burlage, who operates four hotels, says it's been his best Labor Day Weekend since 2008.

'Not only are people in the rooms, but they are going to the restaurants and they are ordering the higher end items on the menu,' notes Burlage, who considers the increased spending as a sign of the economy improving.

Burlage says a few events as well as warm weather helped make the holiday weekend a success.

'The Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon was a phenomenal event and we had some good musicians perform, too,' he says.

On August 20, the Convention and Visitors Bureau announced that lodging revenues for the first half of 2012 were on record pace -- $118 million compared to $104 million in 2011. Officials say the best indicator of city tourism is visitor spending at overnight accommodations.

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