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Visit Alexandria reports record tourism rebound

Pandemic? Alexandria just broke the all-time record for consumption-based tax revenue with $76 million for fiscal year 2022, according to the city’s tourism bureau.

At its annual meeting this week, Visit Alexandria reported that its expanded marketing efforts — with support from the Alexandria’s American Rescue Plan funding — allowed the city to capitalize on pent-up travel demand.

“The increased investment appears to have paid off, as the City set a new record of $76 million in consumption tax revenues,” Visit Alexandria said in a release. “Alexandria relies on consumption tax revenues to support core City services and minimize the tax rate for residents… With an estimated 71% of these revenues coming from non-residents, based on analysis of credit card data, visitors saved the average Alexandria household over $750 per year in taxes.”

It helps that Alexandria was recently listed by Conde’ Nast as one of the best small cities in the country for the fifth year in a row.

The $76 million in sales, lodging and travel receipts is a rebound from $59 million in 2021, and surpasses the previous record of $66 million set in 2019. In its annual report, the organization reported making important strides in Alexandria’s economic recovery. Retail and restaurant sales continue to lead in the recovery, as hotel revenues still lag behind pre-pandemic levels.

“Fiscal Year 2022 continued to test us with a series of challenges including labor shortages, inflation, higher gas prices and several Covid variants,” Visit Alexandria said in its annual report. “It would have been easy to hunker down and ‘wait out’ this period, but that is not Alexandria.”

The pandemic offered a “window of evolution for both businesses and consumers to become stronger and more resilient,” Visit Alexandria said.

Last year, the organization expanded advertising by 31%, launched a new mobile-first website, and created a new campaign to reach audiences of color.

“I’m grateful for the leadership of our tourism and hospitality sector and the partnership with Visit Alexandria as together we work to continue our city’s economic recovery,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in a release. “There is still work to be done, and we know other destinations are upping their game, so we cannot let up.”

Visit Alexandria’s new campaign

This week, the tourism bureau launch its “Expand Your ALX” campaign. The effort will feature Alexandria’s West End, Del Ray, Arlandria and Carlyle neighborhoods.

“Expand Your ALX is an exciting invitation to not only explore our physical neighborhoods but also to expand your understanding and experience of the diverse cultures, people and history in our city,” said Patricia Washington, President & CEO of Visit Alexandria. “With this new campaign, we are excited to step up the impact of visitor spending across Alexandria.”