Governor McDonnell to Make Budget Amendment to Support Major Tourism Event in Hampton Roads
– $1 Million Amendment to Back OpSail 2012 Will Leverage Estimated $80 Million Support from Private, Foundation, and Other Public Sector Entities –
OpSail 2000 Generated $58 Million in Economic Impact in Region; 2 Million Attended
*OpSail 2012 Will Commemorate War of 1812; Hampton Roads One of Only 5 U.S Ports to host Event; Starts in New Orleans, Concludes in Boston Harbor *
NORFOLK- In his amendments to Virginia's FY 2011/2012 budget, which will be formally announced in his address to the Joint Money Committees on December 17th, Governor Bob McDonnell will include $1 million to promote, support and facilitate OpSail 2012 in Hampton Roads. The announcement was made by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng during a morning press conference in Norfolk.
OpSail 2012 will commemorate Virginia's role in the War of 1812 and feature tall ships and naval vessels from around the world, generating worldwide recognition and visibility for the growing Port of Virginia. It is expected to be a significant job-creation and economic development driver for the region and the Commonwealth and will run from June 6th to the 12th. OpSail 2012 will kick off in New Orleans in May, before concluding in Boston on July 4th.
Speaking about the budget amendment, the Governor noted, "In these tough times we must invest limited state dollars wisely in programs that lead to job creation and spur economic activity. This state support for OpSail 2012 is exactly that kind of targeted investment and will leverage significant private sector dollars. State funds will be invested specifically in activities that generate revenue and jobs for our localities and citizens. Ten years ago OpSail came to Hampton Roads, and the results were remarkable. Visitors and participating ships poured $58 million into the local economy and packed our hotels. The international visibility gained through participation in the event further benefited the Commonwealth and our economy. Tourism is big business in Virginia, and it means good jobs for Virginians. This targeted budget amendment will ensure that OpSail 2012 is a successful event with a positive impact on our economy. I look forward to the world docking at the Port of Virginia in June 2012."
Lieutenant Governor Bolling remarked, "I am pleased that the Commonwealth of Virginia is able to provide financial and logistical support to OpSail 2012. This event will not only help us celebrate an important period in America's history, but it will also help us promote Virginia as a great tourism destination. Tourism is big business in Virginia, generating an annual economic impact of 17.7 billion in revenue and supporting 204,480 jobs. We are confident that OpSail 2012 will generate a significant return on the Commonwealth's investment and remind the nation of why they should include Virginia in their future travel plans."
Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng added, "In June 2012 the world will turn its attention to America's greatest Ports. Chief among those will be our Port of Virginia. This growing Port powers the economy of Hampton Roads, and plays a major role in economic activity throughout Virginia. The opportunity to promote the Port on the world stage, while bringing millions to Hampton Roads to visit, eat, stay and spend is one that we cannot afford to miss. This amendment is a smart, targeted investment that will grow our economy."
Bill Magann, President, W.F. Magann Corporation, and Chairman of OpSail 2012 Virginia stated, "Support from the Commonwealth for OpSail 2012 guarantees that Virginia will realize the full extent of the tourism and economic benefit that a project of this magnitude can deliver. In these challenging economic times, we need to leverage and maximize private and public resources at every opportunity. The OpSail 2012 project represents an $80 million investment by local, state and national partners - investing in this project is a smart business decision for the Commonwealth that will generate substantial economic and social returns. Based on the success of OpSail 2000, we have every reason to believe that OpSail 2012 will generate more than $150 million in related and visitor spending for Virginia. The Commonwealth's funding shows support for Virginia's important role in this national and historic event and places our state on the national stage with the other OpSail ports of New Orleans, Baltimore, Boston and New York."
OpSail is co-sponsored by Operation Sail, Inc., a non-profit national organization established in 1961 by Joint Congressional Resolution. The group conducted similar international events in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, and 2000, each tied to a landmark historical event. The 2000 OpSail event generated $58 million in economic impact in Hampton Roads and was attended by 2 million visitors, with area hotels reporting 90-100% occupancy during the period. The Governor's $1 million in state funding will help OpSail 2012 to leverage an estimated $80 million in funding from private, foundation and other public sector entities.
Commonwealth Funding for OpSail 2012 Virginia will Support:
*Educational, historical and research projects
*Activities and events in partnering communities
*Military/Civilian cooperative projects
*Development of civic projects for residents, students and educators
*Marketing, advertising, website development
*Tour and Travel initiatives including familiarization tours, leisure and group tours
*Protocol/Diplomatic and Economic Development Events
*Security and Transportation Coordination
Measurable Results of Virginia OpSail 2000:
* 40 event sites; 50 tall ships at 8 ship docking locations
* Over 200 US and foreign dignitaries and military leaders in attendance
* 2 million in attendance over five days, including 500 members of local, regional, national, and international media
* $58 million regional visitor and ship spending impact over five days
* Area hotels reported 90-100% occupancy
*$1 million from the Commonwealth helped leverage over $9 million in private support and in-kind services
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