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GUEST EDITORIAL: Is tourism good for Greene?

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For the past several years, tourism has been on the rise, becoming one of the top revenue industries in Greene County. Just last year, lodging revenues alone brought $8 million into Greene’s economy. In fact, according to Virginia Tourism, guests spent $22 million at Greene’s lodging establishments, restaurants, gas stations, wedding venues, vineyards, antique stores, artisan studios and other businesses in 2019. In addition to contributing to the vibrancy of our community, these guests have helped lower your taxes.

Besides the sizable revenue stream, tourists’ other assets include minimal impact on our infrastructure with zero burden to our schools, little to no interaction with our law enforcement agency and half the number of trips on our roads than local residents.

Greene County Tourism markets our area to couples and families looking for a quiet weekend away. Our inventory of activities supports these guests who are searching for great hikes, beautiful scenic views, small town charm and a chance to be surrounded by nature. Their financial impact on our community is huge yet their strain on our resources is so low. Consider your last vacation. You contributed to that community by staying overnight in a hotel, an AirBnB or a campground, eating at their restaurants and enjoying their unique offerings—whether it be a walk on the beach in the warm sun, a visit to a museum on a rainy day or a cozy campfire on a cool night. You spent your time and money in that town, supporting the local businesses and empowering that community to excel; and yet, you took nothing from them except a great experience and a lifetime of memories.

That support of and empowerment to our businesses translates to their success and lasting amenities for us, the residents of Greene. The same restaurants and shops that our guests enjoy benefit us year-round. We, too, like our guests, delight in our annual events and festivals, farmers markets and even wedding venues. We hike the same trails, fish the same streams and enjoy the same mountain views. And while the tourists may seem invisible to us, their affect in our community is long-lasting.

As tourism continues moving forward, it is our goal to maintain our rural character by appealing to those visitors in search of outdoor, nature-filled experiences and by attracting new tourism businesses that respect and embrace both our natural beauty and our quiet lifestyle.

So, the answer is, “yes, tourism is good for Greene.” In fact, it’s great!

—Alan Yost, Greene County Director of Economic Development and Tourism

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Dear Greene County Board of Supervisors: First, let me thank you for your dedication to the people and the growth of Stanardsville and Greene County.

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