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New data shows Richmond area saw record $2.8 billion in tourism spending in 2021

Visitor spending amounts to $138.3 million in local tax and $78.6 million in state tax revenues.

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New data released this month shows positive momentum for the region’s growing tourism industry. Visitor spending increased 6.7% in 2021 compared to a pre-pandemic comparison in 2019, bringing in a record $2.8 billion for the local economy and supporting almost 24,000 jobs.

According to figures from Tourism Economics commissioned by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Richmond Region Tourism partner localities – including Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent counties, Richmond, Colonial Heights and the town of Ashland – generated a combined total of $2.8 billion across lodging, food and beverage, retail, recreation and transportation spending. The visitor spending amounts to $138.3 million in local tax and $78.6 million in state tax revenues.

Visitor spending in 2019 was $2.6 billion.

“This is another sign of our local tourism industry’s strength and resiliency,” said Jack Berry, president and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism. “Tourism is an important economic engine that creates jobs, while supporting small businesses and our entire community. The latest numbers help highlight the Richmond Region as a thriving and welcoming destination that people want to experience.”

Richmond Region Tourism’s leaders point to sports tournaments and events, and an increased emphasis on promoting the region’s diversity as factors for the growth. Meetings and conventions, leisure, and friends and family travel also contributed to the gains.

An indicator of sports tourism’s expanding popularity across partner jurisdictions, sports tournaments represent 68% of Richmond Region Tourism’s overall group bookings as young athletes and families flock to the region for soccer, softball, baseball, lacrosse and other competitions.

Awareness about the region’s diversity is helping drive visitor interest as well, according to Richmond Region Tourism leaders. The organization launched BLK RVA with local community leaders in 2019 to celebrate the region’s Black community, businesses and culture. Visitor data from Longwoods International reveals travel by African-Americans to the Richmond Region is 27%, which is 12% higher compared to the national average. The BLK RVA campaign joins OutRVA, a program created to highlight the area’s LGBTQ community, in conjunction with Richmond Region Tourism’s overall focus to promote the region’s diverse community.

Local tourism continues to experience significant gains: Earlier this year, hotels in the Richmond Region set a new collective record for annual occupancy tax revenue. For the 2022 fiscal year ending this past June 30, total lodging tax revenue reached $30,817,871, edging the previous high in 2019 of $30,014,047.

Direct visitor spending (in millions) within the Richmond Region Tourism footprint for the calendar year 2021 is listed below:

 

Locality

 

Total Visitor Spending

 

Local Tax

Receipts

 

 

Employment

CHESTERFIELD$535.9$26.15,579
COLONIAL HEIGHTS$96.5$4.71,003
*HANOVER$204.2$9.21,926
HENRICO$1,350.4$61.58,760
NEW KENT$27.9$1.1203
RICHMOND CITY$643.5$35.66,437
Regional Total$2,858.4$138.323,908

*Hanover data includes Town of Ashland tourism numbers

All data was received by the VTC from Tourism Economics and is based on travelers from within the United States taking trips 50 miles or more away from home.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.

Business

PHOTOS: Grow @1717 Accelerator honors childcare businesses in Richmond

Capital One Financial Corp (COF) this week recognized seven licensed home base childcare providers for their completion of the [email protected] Accelerator, a 12-week small business program designed to help strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem and elevate the Richmond region as a destination for innovation.

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Capital One Financial Corp (COF) this week recognized seven licensed home base childcare providers for their completion of the [email protected] Accelerator, a 12-week small business program designed to help strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem and elevate the Richmond region as a destination for innovation.

Cohort members received $5,000 in funding to support business stabilization and growth, along with a business needs assessment, 90-minute learning workshops, skills-based support from COF associates, and a network of peer mentors. The cohort was selected and funded in partnership with ChildSavers, a non-profit that provides children’s mental health services and childcare resources to Richmond residents.

“We know that family day home care is the most common form of childcare in this country, but oftentimes, home-based providers are the most overlooked for support as small business owners,” said Toria Edmonds-Howell, Community Engagement Manager for the Capital One 1717 Innovation Center. “The Grow @1717 program was designed to meet emerging needs within our region, and as Richmond childcare providers continue to experience the impacts of the pandemic, we want to help.”

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Photos: Michael Simon Photography

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Arts & Entertainment

Local rapper launches new creative and co-op work space downtown

A grand opening for the new space, CNTR, will be held 5-10 p.m. Friday, November 4th, coinciding with the Arts District’s First Fridays event.

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A new retail, creative and co-working space named CNTR opens next month in Richmond’s Arts District.

Located at 318 W. Broad St., the 3,408-square-foot space also is home to theMSQshop, which opened earlier this year. It provides brand design, creative content services and a recording and production studio.

Owner and Creative Director Will Keck, who performed for 15 years in Richmond as OG ILLA, aims to provide a resource for creatives and a safe, welcoming space for Richmond’s hip-hop and R&B culture.

“I want to encourage young artists and entrepreneurs in our community,” Keck says. “CNTR is here as a resource, business incubator, and place to elevate their work through business education.”

CNTR is available for bookings as well — for pop-ups, shows, events, workshops, conferences, and video and photo production.

The business venture, powered by theMSQshop, also includes a retail shop featuring Virginia-based streetwear, an art gallery showcasing local artists, and a co-working space that includes Richmond’s first black-owned hemp company.

A grand opening for CNTR will be held 5-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, coinciding with the Richmond Arts District’s First Fridays.

The free event will feature pop-ups from local vendors, an art exhibit with work from ErvEyes, JAE, Paris and Khaos Ky, and music performances by Rudy Walker, Era Hardaway, Machine Mook, OG Souul, illwilliam and Hannah Grace.

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Business

BigWife’s Mac and Cheese food truck now open while construction continues on brick-and-mortar space

Menu items include a Buffalo Mac, Little Figgy Mac, Greek Wedding Mac, and Mac Lorraine, in addition to a few salads and a giant cookie – aptly named the “Big Ass Cookie.”

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A new food option coming to Scott’s Addition has set up shop in a food truck while construction continues on its brick-and-mortar operation.

BigWife’s Mac & Cheese is now operating a food truck located at 1017 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard, next to Starbucks. A storefront in the same location is expected to open later this year in the former Growlers To Go.

Menu items include a Buffalo Mac, Little Figgy Mac, Greek Wedding Mac, and Mac Lorraine, in addition to a few salads and a giant cookie – aptly named the “Big Ass Cookie.”

This is a new restaurant concept from John and Jayme Taxin, owners of Bookbinder’s Seafood and Steakhouse. The couple first tested the waters as a pop-up operating during the pandemic and, after its success, decided to expand to this new location.

Online orders for pickup can be placed here. The truck is serving Mondays through Saturdays beginning at 4:00 PM.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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