Tourism spending increases in Alexandria year-over-year

Tourism spending increases in Alexandria year-over-year
Tourists walk along Alexandria's waterfront (Photo Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria)

Tourism spending increased by just under 5 percent year-over-year to $826 million, Visit Alexandria announced at its annual meeting on Monday night. 

The figure represents an all-time high for the city and an increase of $36 million from 2017. The statistics come from data that was recently released by the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Tourism spending has increased by $88 million since 2013, according to Visit Alexandria. 

Hotel occupancy was at 72.5 percent this year, which is largely consistent year-over-year, and non-residents accounted for 71 percent of the city’s sales, meals and lodging tax receipts, the organization said at the meeting. 

Visit Alexandria CEO and President Patricia Washington referenced the city’s ongoing efforts to compete for tourism with The Wharf in D.C. and National Harbor at the meeting.

“This is a pivotal year for Alexandria as we face unprecedented competition,” Washington said in a statement. “This challenge unites us and energizes us to work smarter, relying on big data to drive our marketing decisions and to continue to improve the quality of experiences and programs our city has to offer.”

Visit Alexandria also discussed the progress of the King Street Corridor Initiative, which City Manager Mark Jinks budgeted for in FY2018. The King Street Corridor Initiative, led by the city and Visit Alexandria, devotes funds to event programming, beautification and marketing. Visit Alexandria is kicking off this initiative by hosting Portside in Old Town, a themed weekend event. The inaugural event will take place from Oct. 12 to 14. 

This year, Visit Alexandria is also launching ALXNetWorks, an initiative that the city hopes will make it a destination for the meetings industry. The marketing team, in addition, will debut a new ad campaign for the city, “Close to D.C., Far From Expected.”