There’s no getting around it, whether it is for our historic landmarks and battlefields or cultural attractions and fine arts, Fairfax is a great place to visit. With such a rich history and countless attractions, it’s no wonder that one of the best industries to foster job growth, successful businesses and a booming economic sector lies right under our feet: the tourism industry.
Fairfax County’s tourism industry is a $2.8 billion behemoth, supporting nearly 30,000 jobs and a track record of helping our county’s economy flourish. I strongly believe that our county’s future economic success depends, in part, on the continued growth of this sector.
We are not the only ones with the tourist magnet of the nation’s capital in our backyard. Other counties and jurisdictions, like Montgomery and Prince George’s County, are moving full speed ahead to promote tourism in their own ways, and we are in direct competition with them for these prized tourism dollars. By making targeted investments that support tourism, we can expand promotion efforts in sports and leisure travel, allocate resources to generally promote restaurants, catering events, business meetings and other food services, as well as leverage our new Metrorail access to attract businesspeople and tourists from all over the world. Fairfax lies between the Capitol of the wealthiest nation in the world, and its international airport, Dulles, making it a convenient destination for wealthy travelers eager to spend money on our county’s goods and services.
Small business is the backbone of any local economy, and few things help small businesses more than an increased tourism sector. Along with the influx of these travelers and tourists comes a higher demand for food services, lodging, entertainment, retail and much more. By helping to support these types of businesses with a strategic tourist promotion campaign, we can help boost the economic growth of our small business community and assist in creating and keeping jobs here in Fairfax.
I have always believed in prioritizing a strong economy, because with a strong economy comes competitive schools, lower crime levels, more efficient services and happier residents. Tourism is a common-sense way to develop our urbanizing economy into a model for the rest of the country. The greatest economic engine is right here in Fairfax County. Let’s put some gas in it.
John C. Cook was sworn in in March 2009 as a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. On November 8, 2011 he was re-elected to serve a new term as Braddock District Supervisor.