Arlington Visitor Spending Hits $3.6 Billion Record in 2019, COVID Br

Published on October 09, 2020

After a record-breaking 2018, tourism spending in Arlington rose to $3.6 billion in 2019, according to data released today by the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Arlington has led Virginia counties in visitor spending for 12 consecutive years, with local tourism in 2019 generating $97.8 million in local tax receipts that benefit Arlington County programs and services for the community. The industry also supported the livelihoods of more than 27,000 hard-working people at Arlington hotels, restaurants, stores and other businesses — an increase of more than two percent from 2018.

"These impressive numbers show just how vital the tourism industry is as an economic driver for the County," said Telly Tucker, director of Arlington Economic Development. "Visitors at our hotels contribute to the vibrancy of our neighborhoods and help local businesses, both large and small, thrive. Their activities result in important new revenues that have a positive impact on our community, and that is even more evident in today's challenging times."

Coronavirus Significantly Impacts Global Tourism Industry

"Arlington tourism's best-ever performance in 2019 is a testament to the outstanding efforts of our hotels, restaurants and other hospitality businesses," said Emily Cassell, director of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service. "It is also bittersweet, as this year's COVID-19 crisis continues to have a devastating impact on companies and individuals across our industry — locally, nationally and globally. Working together, we and our Arlington hospitality partners will be doing everything possible to move toward a full recovery."

The coronavirus pandemic has put the Virginia travel and tourism industry in crisis. Fewer people traveling due to COVID-19 health concerns has resulted in dramatic revenue drops and workforce reductions throughout the hospitality sector.  Many businesses have been forced to shutter temporarily, if not permanently. As a result, early numbers for 2020 project a sharp decrease in tourism spending. As the Commonwealth continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, the pandemic has further emphasized that statewide economic revival cannot occur without the recovery of the travel industry. Tourism will be key to economic recovery as the pandemic stabilizes and leisure and business travel resumes.

The Virginia Tourism Corporation receives its annual economic impact data from the U.S. Travel Association. The information is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from per-person trips taken 50 miles or more away from home. Detailed economic impact data by locality is available on under Research.

About the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service

A division within Arlington Economic Development, the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service (ACVS) is Arlington County's official destination marketing organization. As a result of legislation sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell and Del. Patrick Hope in the Virginia General Assembly 2020 Session, ACVS is now permanently funded through a guest-paid, 1/4-cent tax on hotel rooms. ACVS promotes Arlington as the perfect combination of convenience, value and local flavor for travelers visiting the Washington, D.C., region. For more information on Arlington tourism, visit