Overseas visitors to Virginia spent record $1.9B in 2017

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) State tourism officials say international visitors to Virginia spent a record-breaking $1.9 billion last year. Gov. Ralph Northam’s office said in a news release Tuesday that international visitation reached 1.1 million people in 2017 and grew at a faster rate in Virginia than in the United States overall. The news release says international visitors are expecting to keep increasing, reaching 1.5 million by 2027. Currently, about half of Virginia’s international travelers come from Canada, 25 percent from Europe and 15 percent from the Asia-Pacific region. The number of visitors from Asia is expected to increase, which Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement is fueled in part by a rise there in middle-class households. State officials say the travel industry is the fifth-largest employer in Virginia.

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