RICHMOND(AP) -- Governor Bob McDonnell's recent announcement that tourism in Virginia became a $21 billion industry in 2012 was good economic news in Virginia Beach and the Commonwealth as a whole.

Gov. Bob McDonnell said tourism revenue rose to $21.2 billion in 2012. That's a 4 percent increase over the previous year

Data released by the United States Travel Association reveals that tourism revenue for Virginia Beach reached $1.28 billion, a 5 percent increase over 2011.

'Tourism is the second largest revenue driver in Virginia Beach, which ultimately supports a better quality of life for our citizens,' said James B. Ricketts, director of the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. 'The CVB will continue showcasing our incredible destination and attracting visitors throughout the United States and the world to create more jobs and maximize our tax revenue.'

McDonnell announced the tourism figures Wednesday at a news conference at Brown's Island in Richmond.

The tourism industry also supported 210,000 jobs and provided more than $1.36 billion in state and local taxes in 2012. Every locality in Virginia reported tourism increases last year.

Officials say tourism funding over the past three years has increased by more than $5 million per year and has yielded a 5-to-1 return on investment.

Tourism officials touted Virginia's varied landscapes and historic sites, as well as the film and wine industry as drivers for growth over the past few years.

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