Va. tourism looking good from this holiday weekend

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Tourism numbers this Fourth of July holiday weekend are looking pretty good compared to previous years, according to the Virginia State Tourism Association.

All the way from the United Kingdom, tourist Michael Drake is taking some time out of this holiday weekend, and visiting family, to snap some pics of the Virginia State Capitol.

"It's good to get out of the big cities, see a little bit of the countryside. It's really, I came down from the Northern Neck and it's a beautiful country," says Drake.

Drake is part of a growing trend tourism leaders are seeing here in Virginia.

"International travel to Virginia is up 16 percent. We are one of only two states in the nation that's posted an increase in international tourism," says Virginia Tourism Public Relations Manager Tamra Talmadge-Anderson.

This 4th of July weekend is bringing out the tourists in numbers, international or not.

"We are hearing reports across the state this is a really good weekend and we are optimistic for a very good summer of tourism in Virginia," adds Talmadge-Anderson.

Preliminary reports have many areas, including Virginia Beach and Richmond as having a solid weekend and summer so far. For this multi billion dollar industry, 2010 is headed in the right direction for most areas in the state.

"Things are definitely looking up from last year. We still have a lot of challenges. The economy is still challenging," says Talmadge-Anderson.

And despite that, people like Michael are making their way to the River City.

"It's not far from DC and I was interested in coming down. It's somewhere iIve never been before," says Talmadge-Anderson.

We're told that many businesses are using travel deals and discounts to offset the challenges they are facing.

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