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By Roger Snyder

 2018 was a big year for tourism in Prince William County.

The growth in tourism spending in Prince William last year surpassed that of surrounding counties in Northern Virginia, including Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington, the county announced Tuesday.

Prince William saw a 4.5% increase in tourism spending in 2018, which places the county ninth in the state among Virginia’s other 133 independent cities and counties. 

That’s according to research recently released by the U.S. Travel Association and the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Prince William County Office of Tourism said in a news release.

In 2018, tourism in the county generated $618 million in travel-related expenditures and supported 6,662 jobs, the release said.

“Tourism enhances the county’s image as a dynamic place to visit, live and work,” said Ann Marie Maher, director of the county’s office of tourism, in a statement. “It strengthens our economic position and provides opportunities for county residents they would not otherwise have.”

According to the office of tourism, the number of hotel rooms in Prince William has grown by nearly 3,000 in the last 10 years. Five hotels recently opened or are currently under construction. Others are in the development stages, which will bring the county’s total supply of hotel rooms to nearly 5,000 in the next several years, the release said. 

“The county’s craft beverage scene has also expanded from only one winery in 2009 to more than 15 breweries, wineries, tasting rooms and distilleries today,” the press release said.

The county listed several new hotels and attractions as possible contributors to the growth in tourism-related spending in 2018. They included:

  • Candlewood Suites Dumfries: a new 83-room, extended-stay hotel near Interstate 95.
  • Home2Suites Potomac Mills: a new, 126-room extended-stay hotel near Potomac Mills in Woodbridge.
  • The Neabsco Boardwalk / Neabsco Regional Park: home to the three-quarter mile boardwalk that traverses Neabsco Creek, a key artery of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
  • Sweeney Barn: A former dairy barn in Innovation Park that has been fully restored as a weddings and events venue.
  • Cedar Run Brewery: a new farm brewery in Nokesville. 
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