Much like a traditional enterprise zone, a Tourism Zone allows for businesses to take advantage of local tax incentives and deductions not available to businesses elsewhere. Any city, county, or town may establish, by ordinance, one or more Tourism Zones.
- The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in 2006 authorizing Virginia localities to create Tourism Zones and offer tax incentives and provide certain regulatory flexibility within a Tourism Zone.
- Tourism Zones are passed by local ordinance and may contain both requirements and benefits for existing and new or expanded tourism businesses, including lodging, dining, retail, meeting and sports facilities, outdoor recreation areas, theme parks and event venues.
- Local incentives may be offered to stimulate business attraction, growth, and increased employment opportunities within certain areas of a locality. This can include, but is not limited: hiring credits, sales & use tax incentives, expense and interest deductions, discounted utilities hook-up and payment plans, sewer facility hookup payment plans and reduced parking requirements.
- Currently, there are approximately 72 Tourism Zones, statewide, across Virginia in 44 different localities.
Based on a Tourism Zone Survey completed in 2018, the following are prominent trends found within local Tourism Zones.
- 61% of Tourism Zones have established capital investment and job creation requirements for a business to be eligible for Tourism Zone incentives.
- 56% of Tourism Zones offer Business, Professional, and Occupational License (BPOL) tax incentives for qualifying businesses.
- 43% of Tourism Zones offer fee reductions, waivers, or rebates as an incentive to qualifying businesses.
- 21% of Tourism Zones offer targeted industry status or an expedited review process as an incentive to qualifying businesses.
For a full list of incentives offered through Tourism Zones in Virginia, please visit the Tourism Zones Incentives Matrix.