• Zachary Whitlow is in his third year serving as Executive Director of Downtown Blackstone Inc. (DBI).

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE LOCAL TOURISM’S IMPACT

The concept of “tourism” and its economic impact on Nottoway County can be difficult to comprehend because we’ve grown accustomed to not fully realizing the intrinsic value and appeal of our own localities to visitors/travelers, as well as the full spectrum of Virginia’s travel business.

I’ve heard residents and others express sentiments relating to this twofold concern, usually echoed in the simplified form of “there’s nothing to do here” or “there’s no major lure or attraction(s).”

It’s a broad-brush point of view that couldn’t be further from the truth, and it doesn’t adequately reflect the multifaceted nature of tourism and its ability to act as a method to effectuate long-term economic growth.

The Town of Blackstone has begun to lead by example, acknowledging that we must gain a more robust understanding of tourism and embrace a new approach to ensure preservation, growth, and vitality of our community as the fundamental decision to evolve or fold surrounds us each and every day.

In 2017, based on reporting from the Virginia Department of Taxation, travelers collectively spent $36,000 per day in Nottoway County, equating to an annual $13 million economic impact which helped support 122 jobs.

As a result, approximately $330,000 was collected through local tax revenues. Specific formulas assess tourism’s impact through 34 categories, including the retail trade industry, food service industry, lodging industry, entertainment/ recreation industry, automobile transportation (service stations and more), and other specific travel related categories.

 

 

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