Alexandria Visitor Spending Topped $645 Million, an Increase of 10.3 Percent over 2007 September 24, 2009
Media Release                                                                                       Contact: Merrie Morris
                                                                                                                          Emily Hellewell

Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association Reports on City's Tourism Industry

ALEXANDRIA, VA (September 24, 2009) - Underscoring the importance of tourism to the Alexandria economy, Councilmember Paul Smedberg today announced the economic impact of visitor spending in the City. Total visitor spending topped $645 million during calendar year 2008, an increase of 10.3 percent, generating $21.7 million in City tax revenue. Spending by visitors in Alexandria supported 6,023 jobs with a payroll of $111 million.

These tourism statistics, provided by the U.S. Travel Association, were presented at the Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association's 2009 Annual Membership Meeting.

"It has been a prolific year for the City, its business community and the ACVA," said Councilmember Smedberg in addressing ACVA members and City officials. "Despite staggering economic challenges, we have worked together to improve the economic sustainability of the City through privately and publicly financed improvements, increased funding of ACVA's marketing efforts and unprecedented collaboration among the City's economic development partners."

"I am happy to share with you that Alexandria achieved the fourth largest increase in visitor spending in the Commonwealth in 2008," Smedberg continued before relating the statistics on visitor spending.

"As we look forward together to a more promising economic future, we will build upon a foundation of renewal laid by our City, business community and residents," said Stephanie Brown, president and CEO of the ACVA.

Brown highlighted some of the accomplishments of the ACVA over the past year:

  • The new destination website launched in November with a dramatic design and significantly enhanced tools that improved the user's experience. Use of the website topped 500,000 visits and 2.4 million page views during FY2009. The bounce rate improved 11 percent and the average time users spent on the site increased 23 percent.
  • A new brand identity debuted, replacing the "Fun Side of the Potomac" with a new logo that equally captures the city's historic ambience and contemporary flair as well as new advertising creative, printed materials and the tagline "Shop, Dine and Celebrate on America's Historic Main Streets."
  • An advertising strategy that targeted three segments: Destination, Tourist In-Market and Regional advertising. Developed with $300,000 in dedicated funding authorized by the Alexandria City Council, the Regional component was greatly enhanced by a cooperative marketing program with Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority that provided advertising in the Metro system valued at $134,000.
  • A focus by the meeting and group sales team on the multi-year $388 million investment in Alexandria hotels with the theme of rejuvenation plus "Meet Alexandria" and "Keep It in Alexandria," a two-pronged approach in response to the economy and the backlash against meetings and incentive travel. The efforts resulted in actualized revenue of $2.5 million, with more than 1,200 leads valued at $26 million distributed to Alexandria businesses.
  • Improvements at the Alexandria Visitors Center, including hours extended to 8 p.m. nightly, fueled a 13 percent increase in visitation, totaling 78,000.

"The ACVA, the City and the business community have strived together to sustain Alexandria's tourism economy in challenging times," said Brown, "and we are enthusiastic about the opportunities that lay ahead."