A FIFA-sanctioned international soccer friendly brought thousands of fans to River City Sportsplex in July.
Another year, another new record for visitor spending in Chesterfield.
According to an annual study released today by the Virginia Tourism Corp. (VTC), visitors spent more than $582 million in Chesterfield in 2022, eclipsing the previous year’s total by $46.7 million or 8.7%.
The total included sales of $194.5 million on food and beverage, $105.5 million on lodging, $76.1 million on retail, $82.0 million on recreation and $124.6 million on transportation.
The data, which was compiled for the VTC by Tourism Economics, reflects spending by travelers who stayed overnight in paid accommodations or took trips at least 50 miles from home.
“More and more, visitors from outside the Richmond region are looking at Chesterfield as a great place to enjoy a wide range of experiences,” said J.C. Poma, who was hired in May as the county’s executive director of sports, visitation and entertainment. “They, in turn, become customers for our hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other businesses, and their spending translates into revenue for vital public services.”
In 2022, tourism in Chesterfield supported more than 6,051 jobs with a combined payroll income of nearly $163.8 million, while generating local tax receipts of about $28.5 million.
For perspective, the latter number is equivalent to more than 5 cents on the county’s real estate tax rate.
“We recognize that every dollar of tax revenue generated by a visitor to Chesterfield is a dollar we don’t have to collect from our residents to fund schools and public safety,” said Kevin P. Carroll, chair of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors. “Tourism is a critical piece of our ongoing efforts to diversify the local tax base and reduce the county’s reliance on residential real estate assessments, which will enable us to continue cutting the tax rate and decrease the burden on our homeowners going forward.”
Chesterfield already has a number of amenities to lure potential visitors: River City Sportsplex, Pocahontas State Park, Henricus Historical Park, Metro Richmond Zoo, SwimRVA aquatic center, Richmond Volleyball Club, The First Tee, Perkinson Center for the Arts and Education, the Children’s Museum and Virginia State University’s Multi-Purpose Center.
The county is also home to a growing brewery and winery scene, premier public golf courses, venues for weddings or other large events, many well-preserved historical sites, a high-quality local park system and miles of waterfront trails along the James and Appomattox rivers.
The Lake, a mixed-use development on Genito Road featuring a surf park, and the proposed 43-mile Fall Line Trail originating at the Appomattox River will be other unique attractions.
Planned investments in public facilities, such as park improvements and new boat ramps on the James River, as well as growth in the local hospitality sector with several new hotels in various stages of development, will help Chesterfield attract and retain even more visitor spending in future years.
“The data shows the county is benefitting from tourism more than ever, but we’re still just scratching the surface of what we can do in that sector,” Poma said. “We’re determined to keep building on our successes and take it to another level.”