Greater Richmond Convention Center, sports tourism drives region’s record lodging tax revenue

Hotels, restaurants and state-of-the-art facilities- just a few reasons why the Richmond area...
Hotels, restaurants and state-of-the-art facilities- just a few reasons why the Richmond area has become a home run for sports tourism.(NBC12)
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 4:41 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond region hotels saw a record for annual occupancy tax revenue for FY year 2022, which ended on June 30.

The lodging tax revenue surpassed the pre-pandemic high in 2019, with a total of $30,817,871 edging past 2019′s $30,014,047.

“Tourism is an economic engine and this past year saw us hitting on all cylinders – all four cylinders, in fact,” said Jack Berry, president and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism, the nonprofit organization that promotes the region’s tourism on behalf of seven local jurisdictions. “Our perennial focus is on four key sectors – meetings and conventions, sports, leisure and friends and family – and 2022 saw substantial activity across the board. While we have important work ahead to continue helping our local hospitality industry recover from the pandemic, the latest figures are promising and highlights the hard work of our hotel community.”

The Greater Richmond Convention Center saw a 227% increase in event bookings for the year, including Conference on Missions, the USA Field Hockey 2022 National Indoor Conference and Galaxy Con. Attendance at those events saw a bump, and the center expects another rise in the next fiscal year.

“There are a great many historic, cultural and leisure attractions that are luring visitors to our region, including the convention center, which serves as the home base for very large meetings, sport competitions and conventions that help fill the region’s hotels,” said Joe Casey, Chesterfield County Administrator and Chair of the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority. “The decision to renovate the facility during the pandemic has succeeded in enhancing its appeal and improving our competitive posture.”

Sports tourism, such as athletic tournaments and conference championships, has become more popular in the region. Sports tournaments accounted for 79% of Richmond Region Tourism’s overall group bookings.

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