Travel Statistics

overlooking the Page Valley from near Big Meadows Lodge Taking care of business travelers and tourists is big business in Virginia. The Virginia Tourism Corporation compiles travel statistics, including the State and Local Impact data showing Total Travel Employment by Locality by Year and the associated Total Travel Payroll by Locality by Year.

Virginia has over 1,300 hotels and motels, 450 Bed and Breakfasts, and 350 campgrounds. Travellers generated over $13 billion in sales, and is the third largest retail industry and third largest employer in the state. There are over 200,000 jobs in Virginia's travel industry, according to the research of the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

In 1999, the Total Travel Employment by Locality by Year (1988-2000) statistics from the Virginia Tourism Corporation show 1,381 jobs in the county were connected to travel, providing nearly $33 million in local paroll. This is half the number of travel-related jobs in Bath County in 1993... but the country had only 3,026 full- and part-time jobs in 1999, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis - Regional Accounts Data, Local Area Personal Income.

Nelson County, with the Wintergreen resort, was also heavily dependent upon travel-related jobs in 1999 - 1,600 of its 5,774 jobs were related to travel. The local payroll was about 1/3 less than in Bath County, totaling just $23 million in 1999. One possible explanation: perhaps the major resorts in Bath provide full-time employment, while Wintergreen is still dependent upon the ski season and the travel-related jobs are just seasonal. (Divide the total payroll by the number of tavel-related jobs, and you'll see that the average payroll per travel-related job in Bath County was $23,895 compared to just $14,375 in Nelson County.)

The math is a little more complex for James City County and Williamsburg, because the Bureau of Economic Analysis lumps them together in its report while the Virginia Tourism Corporation reports the city and county separately. A few clicks on the calculator will show that 23% of the jobs in that tourist-oriented area (4,642 in James City County and 6,697 in Williamsburg, 11,309 out of the 47,974 full-and part-time jobs there in 1999) were related to travel. The total travel-related payroll in James City/Williamsburg was nearly $162 million, worth $34,876 per job.

In contrast, Fairfax County, Fairfax City, and Falls Church combined had 30,500 travel-related jobs in 1999. Tourism in the National Capital region and business-related travel to that high-tech area clearly provides a substantial total income - but that was only 4% of the total number of 712,295 jobs there.

Note that the average travel-related job in that high-cost region paid only $16,678, below the state average of $18,540. That surprisingly small figure suggests that many travel-related jobs in the Fairfax area may be filled only briefly during summer vacation. The payroll per travel-related job in Hanover County (home of the Kings Dominion theme park) was $14,620 in 1999. Another possibility is that the Fairfax counts more jobs as travel-related than other regions. The statistics show Fairfax reporting nearly three times the number of travel-related jobs as tourist-heavy Virginia Beach.


travel trailer where Appalachian Trail crosses Route 311
travel trailer where Appalachian Trail crosses Route 311 (at Catawba Mountain in Roanoke County)

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