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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Higher visitation rates may not translate into higher sales tax revenues

The following visitor stats and sales tax revenue numbers indicate that high quality customer service and product will continue to be essential to maintain and/or increase sales revenue. Increase in visitation numbers should not be seen as a definite indicator of increased sales tax revenues as the following indicates.

"The number of Virginians visiting Petersburg, VA (within 20 miles south of Richmond, VA) attractions has doubled this year while national and international visitors have remained steady. ... Petersburg attractions - including the Siege Museum, the historic Blandford Church and Cemetery and Centre Hill Museum - have seen an overall visitation increase of 17 percent this year compared to last year.

The strong numbers over the past two months (April, May), however, have yet to be reflected in local revenues, some area officials say. ... The City of Hopewell City, just to the east of Petersburg, has had almost a 50 percent increase in attendance at one of its attractions during the same time period - the Weston Manor received 327 this year in April and May compared to 185 last year. In the same time period its meals - tax revenue dropped by 20,000$. Lodging and sales-tax revenues are not increasing either.

Same as in upstate NY, "the region also is increasingly a good choice for travelers with low budgets, as its attractions offer a historically rich experience at lower costs than other popular Virginia destinations such as Virginia Beach or Williamsburg." Tourism Rises in Tri-Cities Area, by Luz Lazo, Richmond Times-Dispatch, p. A1, Monday, June 22, 2009

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