Virginia tourism brings in $20 billion to state

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Tourism revenue in Virginia topped more than $20 billion in 2011, an 8 percent increase over the previous year.

Gov. Bob McDonnell said the tourism numbers released Wednesday underscore the importance of investing in tourism.

Besides the revenues, he said tourism provides 207,000 jobs across the state. According to the governor's office, tourism employment increased nearly 2 percent last year and generated $1.32 billion in state and local taxes.

The annual economic data is from the U.S. Travel Association. The figures are based on domestic visitor spending on trips taken 50 miles or more from home.