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International tourism to Virginia reaches record level

In 2018, tourists spend a whopping $2 billion in the Commonwealth.

RICHMOND, Va. — Over 1.1 million international tourists visited the Commonwealth in 2018, according to Governor Ralph Northam.

Northam said since 2009, Virginia has seen a 22 percent increase in international visitation with an additional 200,000 visitors to the state. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, Virginia saw a 5 percent increase, exceeding the national rate of 3.2 percent, based on data from Tourism Economics.

In 2018, overseas visitors spent a record $2 billion.

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Almost half of the visitors are coming from Canada, 29 percent from Europe, and 17 percent from the Asia Pacific Region.

Northam said that while the Canadian and European markets currently represent the majority of international travelers to Virginia, the Asia Pacific Region will play a key role in the future. Tourists are forecasted to increase to 20 percent of the Commonwealth’s international visitation by 2028. 

“Virginia’s doors are open, and we are welcoming record numbers of visitors from around the world,” said Governor Northam.

The rise in tourists is credited to the increasing number of non-stop flights from destinations around the globe to Dulles International Airport located in Chantilly, Virginia.

“International visitors play an important role in building and maintaining our strong economy by shopping at our local businesses, dining at our restaurants, and taking in our world-class attractions. It is these diverse tourism assets that make Virginia a premier destination for global travelers and drive economic prosperity and job creation throughout our Commonwealth,” Northam said. 

In the future, the total international visits to Virginia are forecast to grow to 1.5 million in the next 10 years. 

Click here to learn more about Virginia's tourism.

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