Gov. Jim Justice announced today, Wednesday, Sept. 14, that West Virginia’s tourism industry is up 3.8 percent over pre-pandemic levels as of 2021. While nationally tourism is still down 27 percent from 2019, West Virginia continues to trend upward.
In addition to statewide data, the report shows that each of the state’s nine travel regions saw growth in 2021. The report also shows that visitor spending for accommodations was $723 million, an increase of 44.1 percent and visitors who stayed in a short-team rental spent $176 million in 2021, an increase of 15.4 percent.
“Our industry didn’t just erase the impact of COVID-19, we actually did better last year than we were doing before the pandemic,” said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. “Thanks to the overwhelming support from the Governor, the determination and grit of our incredible industry, and our state being perfectly positioned with wide open spaces, we’ve been able to thrive in spite of the challenges the past few years have brought.”
Projections for 2022 show another outstanding year with West Virginia expected to surpass $5 billion in travel spending for the first time in the state’s history.
The research was prepared by Dean Runyan and Associates, a leading national firm for tourism economic research. Runyan economists have studied the impact of West Virginia’s tourism industry since 2000.
To review the 2021 Travel Impacts Study in its entirety, click here?.