Earlier this week, on July 22, the first lady of Virginia, Pamela Northam, and officials from the Virginia Tourism Corporation visited the city of Alexandria to recognize it and Visit Alexandria for their COVID-19 recovery programs. Northam also announced Visit Alexandria, thanks to its Great Walks, program is a recipient of a $10,000 WanderLove Recovery Grant.
The programs that helped gain Alexandria this honor include the ALX Promise, a safety program for businesses and customers launched by the Alexandria Health Department in partnership with Visit Alexandria; Visit Alexandria’s marketing campaign and content hub ALX at Home; Visit Alexandria’ Flex Getaway Hotel Package, which offers low rates that can be canceled with just a 24-hour notice; the $3.5 million in grants awarded to over 300 small businesses through the Alexandria Back to Business Grant Program; and the city’s flexibility to allow restaurants to expand seating into parking spaces and streets.
Visit Alexandria’s Great Walks program, which earned it the recovery grant, is a new initiative for Alexandria’s tourism organization. It targets local drive markets with outdoor experiences, like outdoor, public art, as well as highlights Alexandria’s walkability in themes of architecture, art, history and more (like the Duke Street Black History trail).
The press conference, held at Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory Art Center, shone a light on the importance of tourism for the city, the region and the state, as the industry is an instant revenue generator in Virginia. In 2018, visitors spent $26 billion through tourism, supporting 236,000 work opportunities and $1.8 billion in state and local taxes, according to the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
In Alexandria specifically, the tourism sector is essential to the economy. Visitors contribute $50 million in hotel, restaurant and retail taxes to the city annually, and the tourism sector accounts for 7% of the workforce in Alexandria, as well as the community’s small businesses. To find out more, head to visitalexandriava.com.
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