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The Virginia Tourism Corporation has just released the 2017 state and local economic impact data. In the City of Manassas, tourism-related expenditures rose 4.5 percent to $71,114,795. Annual payroll rose 4.7 percent to $12,124,407. Employment rose 1.5 percent to 589 and local tax receipts rose 2.7 percent to $1,851,267.

It is another record year for Virginia as well, with expenditures reaching $25 billion supporting 230,000 jobs, $5.9 billion in salaries & wages and $1.7 billion in state and local taxes. All Virginia localities saw an increase in travel expenditures in 2017 compared to previous year. The travel industry in the Commonwealth has continued to grow eight years in a row. Travel expenditures increased at a compound annual growth rate of 3.9 percent since 2010.

In the City of Manassas, tourism is an important part of the local economy. Few localities in the nation experienced such seminal events as Manassas did during the Civil War. The First and Second Battles of Manassas helped define the City’s place in history and historical-based tourism is a key market for the City. The Liberia House, Manassas Museum and Manassas National Battlefield Park serve as key attractions for visitors.

However, the City’s appeal to visitors now also includes the charm of its Historic Downtown (a Virginia Main Street community), its specialty shopping and dining, and special events. Special events and activities alone account for 300,000 annual visitors to Historic Downtown Manassas. In addition to the jobs it creates and the revenue it generates, visitors may be prospective business owners or residents who become attracted to a community because of its tourism vibrancy. Essentially, tourism is economic development.