Warren County tourism spending increased in 2016

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — Visitors to Warren County spent nearly $140 million here in 2016, according to a report released last week by the Virginia Tourism Corp.

That figure is up about 3 percent from 2015, when tourists spent about $135.9 million in Warren County. It includes revenue taken from hotel occupancy rates and receipts from restaurants and tourist attractions. That spending netted about $2.8 million in local taxes, $6.5 million in state taxes and supported 1,670 jobs, according to the report. Total payroll from those jobs was about $31.8 million.

Front Royal Visitor Center Manager Tim Smith attributed the increase to heightened interest in local events, including the Brew and Blues Festival, Appaloosa Festival and the Virginia Air Show.

"More people are coming to see us and staying the night," he said.

Warren County ranked 32nd in the state for tourism revenue, according to the report. It beat out all other localities in the northern Shenandoah Valley except Shenandoah County, which received about $213.1 million in tourism revenue in 2016.

Jenna French, Shenandoah County's director of tourism and business development, attributed her countyís increase to the opening of three new breweries and wineries in 2016, as well as the county's co-hosting of the Bike Virginia tour with Rockingham County.

Byrd Newspapers writer Kelly Clark contributed to this report.

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