Fairfax County, VA - May 3, 2016 - Since 1984, the travel industry has designated the first full week in May as National Travel & Tourism Week - a week dedicated to spreading the word on the power of travel and the benefits of tourism. Visit Fairfax - the official destination marketing organization of Fairfax County, Virginia (www.fxva.com) - continues to salute the tourism industry and the thousands of individuals who work in the hospitality community, from airline and hotel employees to restaurant, attraction and taxi workers. 

The travel and tourism industry represents one of America's largest employers, supporting 15.1 million jobs and accounts for approximately $2.1 trillion in economic output for the U.S. economy. In Virginia, tourism supports more than 217,000 jobs - with nearly 30,000 of those jobs in Fairfax County alone - and $5 billion in payroll and salaries. In fact, direct spending by domestic and international travelers averaged $2.6 billion per day, according to U.S. Travel Association data.

In addition to its benefits for the local economy, travel can also have a positive effect on personal well-being. Numerous research studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off, from reducing the risk of heart disease to decreasing depression.

"It's a job creator, educator, and it's pro-family and pro-health. This National Travel and Tourism Week, we're saluting how our dynamic industry contributes to America and continues to do wonders for our business and personal lives," said Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry.

Visit Fairfax was founded in 2004 to support economic development and social growth in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia by marketing, promoting, developing and coordinating tourism, conventions, sports, and hospitality opportunities in the area. Visitors from around the world travel to Fairfax County spending more than $2.85 billion annually. In 2014, Visit Fairfax contributed more than $119 million in incremental return on investment and returns $43 in visitor spending for every $1 spent on marketing.

"Fairfax County is an exceptional destination for both visitors and residents alike, combining the very best of the past and the great promise and prosperity of the future," said Barry Biggar, President and CEO of Visit Fairfax. "At Visit Fairfax, we remain as committed as ever to maximizing the overall tourism spend, which ultimately leads to significant economic growth for both businesses and residents of Fairfax County."

Visit Fairfax has developed a special landing page with more information on National Travel & Tourism Week to help grow travel's voice, advance pro-travel policies and communicate travel's widespread impact, in conjunction with the U.S. Travel Association. Find out more at www.fxva.com/tourism-week.

For more information, please visit www.fxva.com and follow us on social media at Facebook (www.facebook.com/visitfairfaxva) and Twitter (@VisitFairfax). Hashtags: #fxva #travel16 #nttw16

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MEDIA CONTACT: Ali Morris, 703-752-9505 - amorris@fxva.comwww.fxva.com