ALEXANDRIA,VA- Like to hang out in Alexandria? You’re definitely not alone! Visit Alexandria announced all-time high revenue at its annual meeting on Sept. 23. Visitor spending increased $33 million dollars to a record $859 million, according to the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
“This was a big year for Alexandria,” said Patricia Washington, president and CEO of Visit Alexandria at its annual meeting, which was held at The Birchmere. “We celebrated the announcement that the Alexandria/Arlington partnership landed Amazon HQ2 and Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus and Alexandria being named a Top 5 Best Small City in the U.S. 2018 by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. We also weathered monumental challenges, including a 35-day federal government shutdown and 107-day Metro shutdown. Through planning, mitigation strategies and hard work, we ended on a high note with another banner year for Alexandria’s tourism industry.”
This continues the positive growth trend over the past six years for Alexandria’s visitor economy. Tax revenue generated by non-residents represents 71% of Alexandria’s sales, meals and lodging tax receipts, saving the average Alexandria household $673 per year.
Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker has been a Visit Alexandria Board member since taking office.
“I have been struck by the effective partnership that exists between the city and visit Alexandria and professionalism of our shared work,” Bennett-Parker said.
Visitors coming from more than 50 miles away spent $859 million, producing $27.9 million in local tax revenues for Alexandria, according to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 2018 Economic Impact of Domestic Travel on Virginia and Localities report. Travel also supported 6,583 jobs in Alexandria, representing 7 percent of the local workforce.
Have You Been to Waterfront Park?
One of the great successes of the past year has been the opening of Waterfront Park at the base of King Street.
“I was down there last night, about nine o’clock, there must have been 200 people in that park space,” said City Manager Mark Jinks. “There must have been 50 kids running around that that astroturfed area. Everybody was having a great time. And it’s probably gone from being a barbed wire parking lot that nobody else could use to the most popular park in the city in the course of six months.”
In fiscal year 2019, which ended June 30, 2019, Visit Alexandria established new records, including web traffic, media coverage and meetings leads. This success was made possible by Visit Alexandria’s work, including a new regional marketing campaign, promotion of the opening of Waterfront Park, Metro closure mitigation strategies, new meetings video and strategy, 50 Ways to Love Your Summer in Alexandria campaign and hotel package, and King Street Corridor Initiative projects, including the Portside in Old Town fall and summer festivals and waterfront beer garden series.
Visit Alexandria also highlighted the following fiscal year 2019 results:
● 72.5% hotel occupancy (exceeding 70% for five straight years) ● 2.3 million website visits to VisitAlexandriaVA.com (+15%)
● 1,190 total press stories (+2%)
● 141,000 social media followers (+8%)
● 382 members (+6%)
● $46 million in meeting leads (+2%)
Looking ahead to fiscal year 2020, Visit Alexandria will unveil a new destination advertising campaign, fueled by new consumer research by Destination Analysts, in January. Visit Alexandria’s sales team will move in a new strategic direction as it introduces The Leadership Collection™ at Alexandria, pairing three nationally-recognized leadership and team building institutes—the George Washington Leadership Institute at Mount Vernon, McChrystal Group, which is led by retired 4-star General Stanley McChrystal, and Building Momentum—with concierge-level service incorporating accommodations, transportation and more. Additionally, Visit Alexandria will focus on promoting neighborhood content, marketing tall ship Providence and the King Street Corridor Initiative sustainability plan.