Eric Douglas Published

West Virginia Has Best Tourism Year In 2022

Man sits on a stool in front of a crowd
Gov. Jim Justice speaks to the Governor's Conference on Tourism at Canaan Valley Resort State Park.
WV Governor's Office

Tourism brought more than $7 billion into the state last year, according to Gov. Jim Justice. He made the announcement Monday at the West Virginia Governor’s Conference on Tourism at Canaan Valley Resort State Park. 

That represents a 17 percent increase in visitor spending compared to pre-pandemic levels. Justice noted that nationwide tourism has only increased 1 percent overall since the pandemic. 

Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company that measures tourism spending and economic impact, found that visitors to the state had direct spending of $5.3 billion last year, an all-time high. Tourism Economics provides impact studies for 30 destinations and is the official research provider of U.S. Travel, which promotes American tourism around the world.

Visitor spending grew more than 30 percent since 2016. It generated $887 million in tax revenues last year, with $520 million going directly to state and local governments.

Food and beverage spending topped $1.4 billion in 2022. Lodging spending surpassed $800 million for the first time ever, led by a 275 percent increase in short-term rental revenue since 2019.

Justice noted that tourism supports more than 53,000 jobs that account for nearly $2 billion in annual income. Tourism-generated tax dollars contributed approximately $715 per household to maintaining government services.