NORFOLK, VA — The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce supports promoting tourism in the Commonwealth and opposes efforts to change the start of school throughout Virginia to before Labor Day. Post Labor-day and Pre Labor-day school openings have been the topic of discussion among many Virginia policy makers and stakeholders. The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce is in business to protect its members’ interests, such as hospitality and travel.
An analysis conducted by DecideSmart regarding the economic contribution of Virginia’s travel and tourism industry and the economic consequences of shortening the high tourism season was released on December 8, 2010. The analysis focused specifically on the summer months and the pre-Labor Day period.
Key Findings of the Study
- Domestic travel-generated employees in Virginia earned more than $4.4 billion in payroll income during 2008. Domestic travel spending in Virginia directly generated more than $2.5 billion in tax revenue for federal, state and local governments in 2008
- The total economic contribution from Virginia’s Tourism Industry is over $30.1 billion per year, supporting 289,300 jobs, and providing $7.9 billion of wages and benefits.
- It is estimated that uniformly shortening the high tourism season would forgo tourist spending by more than $275 million.
- The total economic consequences of shortening the tourism season in Virginia would be more than $369 million, including more than $104 million in wages and benefits.
- Tourism-related sales in localities with a major presence of the travel and leisure industries show significant declines in the post-summer months, declines that would likely seep into August if the high tourism season was shortened across the Commonwealth.
- Parents with children who frequent Virginia travel and tourism sites in the pre-Labor Day period strongly support post-Labor Day school openings for their children.
- Post-Labor Day school opening received support from visitors at travel and tourism destinations across the Commonwealth, including sites in Northern Virginia and Western Virginia.
- There was very little direct support for pre-Labor Day school openings when parents were given a choice.
To review the complete study, click here.
Ira Agricola, Sr. Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, said, “Virginia is very dependent on in-state visitors. In Virginia Beach, 30% of summer visitors are from Virginia and more than 60% of them bring children who are under the age of 18. The number of visitors in July to Virginia Beach has grown to average 420,000, while the number in August averaged 401,000. But August has equaled or surpassed July in terms of Virginia Beach visitors six of the past 15 years.” He added, “The Chamber has been a proponent of quality K-12 education and fully understands the link between education and workforce development.”
Linwood Branch, Chair of the Chamber’s Virginia Beach Division, operates The Days Inn at the Beach. He is also past president of the Virginia Beach Hotel/Motel Association and past president of the Resort Retailers Association. “In Virginia Beach, the 12-week span from June through August is critical to achieving a profitable year for the hospitality industry,” said Branch. “Many hotels employ students during the summer and rely on them to work through August.”
About the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce (www.HamptonRoadsChamber.com)
The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce is a vigorous advocate for the economic success of its nearly 2,000 member businesses, which employ 280,000 men and women in southeastern Virginia. The Chamber promotes Hampton Roads’ healthy business climate through economic development, public policy initiatives, services and benefits to members. The Chamber is dedicated to creating economic opportunity and enhancing the quality of life in Hampton Roads.