Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that he will lead a four-day marketing mission to Boston and Canada, May 17-20, 2016. The Governor will be accompanied by Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, and representatives of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), Virginia Tourism Corporation and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The delegation will visit the greater Boston area, Montreal, and Toronto.
Governor McAuliffe will meet with senior business executives and government representatives to promote the advantages of doing business in Virginia. The Governor and his delegation will attend more than 20 meetings over the course of the mission. He will also promote Virginia oysters, wine, craft beer, outdoor recreation and travel through a series of interviews with Boston and Canadian media outlets.
In addition to one-on-one business meetings, the Governor will host three receptions to showcase Virginia’s growing economy, agricultural assets, culinary offerings, and scenic beauty. These benefits, in addition to Virginia’s great schools and thriving communities, offer exceptional quality of life for the employees of prospective corporate investors.
“Marketing and trade missions are a critical component of Virginia’s proactive approach to economic development and building a New Virginia Economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These business networking trips provide invaluable opportunities to personally encourage corporate leaders to invest in Virginia and create jobs for our citizens. Missions also give us the ability to promote our world-class tourism products. Meeting with important stakeholders, both domestically and abroad, is a critical avenue for telling the Virginia story and sharing why Virginia is for Lovers.”
Domestic tourism is an instant revenue generator in Virginia. In 2014, visitors to Virginia spent $22.4 billion, which supported 217,000 jobs and contributed $1.5 billion in state and local taxes. The travel industry is the fifth largest employer in Virginia.
Virginia continues to build on its economic relationship with Canada. From 2011-2015 Canadian companies invested more than $150 million and created 775 new jobs in Virginia. More than 50 Canadian companies currently operate in the Commonwealth.
Canada is Virginia’s number one export market in tourism with the majority of Canadians visiting for holiday, leisure and recreation. While the majority drive to the Commonwealth, an increasing number are traveling by air, prompted in part by additional flights. Total passenger volume has increased almost 50% since Porter Airlines began service to Washington Dulles International, in Chantilly Virginia, in April 2012. Additionally, Air Canada began new non-stop service this May 2, operating three flights daily between Dulles and Toronto Pearson Airport.
In 2015, Canada was Virginia’s largest export destination, receiving over $3.38 billion in manufactured goods. Top export products included vehicles (other than rail), industrial machinery, mineral fuels, paper and paperboard, and electrical machinery. Canada is also the second largest export destination for Virginia agriculture and forestry products, a position the country has held since 2013. In 2015, Virginia exported more than $291 million in agricultural and forestry products to Canada, a more than 4 percent increase from the previous year. Through VDACS, the Commonwealth has a trade representative based in Toronto, Ontario, who is responsible for the entire Canadian market. Top export opportunities for Virginia exporters in Canada include aerospace and defense products, information and communications technology, mining, power generation, safety and security equipment, and renewable energy. VEDP’s International Trade Division has led a total of 49 companies on eight trade missions and trade shows in Canada in the last three years.