Tourism Fund


Administered within the Department of Economic Development & Tourism, the Tourism Program mission is to attract visitors from outside Stafford County and develop new tourism-based initiatives to support visitor attraction. The Stafford Tourism Program focuses on sports tourism, cultural “consumer,” and small meeting markets as we; as the development of tourism Initiatives. Tourism Initiatives include activities such as focused marketing campaigns, as well as investments in tourism products (places, facilities, programs) that help build community and attract visitors.

Who Are We?

The Tourism Program was established in July 2001. The Tourism Program is funded from the Tourism Fund, a government special revenue fund. This fund is used to account for the receipt and disbursement of the transient occupancy tax. Prior to the establishment of this fund, these revenues were accounted for in the General Fund.

The Code of Virginia limits the transient occupancy tax to five percent, with any excess over two percent to be “designated and spent solely for tourism, marketing of tourism or initiatives that, as determined in consultation with the local tourism industry organizations, attract travelers to the locality and generate tourism revenues in the locality.” In 2001, the County increased the transient occupancy tax rate from two percent to five percent, dedicating the additional revenues to tourism. This revenue source has allowed the County to employ a Tourism Manager and additional Department support staff to grow the tourism industry and tax revenue in the County. The Tourism Fund supports the marketing and promotion of Stafford’s many tourism assets and programs and is an integral part of economic development. These assets include the arts, historic attractions, golf, wineries, parks and natural areas which all attract visitors to Stafford. The Tourism Fund is also allocated to tourism infrastructure improvements and to regional tourism, which provides for the area’s tourism marketing.

In 2015, the Board approved an Economic Development Strategy that stated the need for a “coordinated Tourism Plan.” In May 2018, the Director of Economic Development & Tourism began to more integrate tourism marketing and tourism development into the work of the Department. In 2019 the Board approve the Stafford County Tourism Program Policy that further clarifies the program of the Tourism Program. In November, 2019, the Department presented the Community Economic Development Committee the Stafford Tourism Plan for fiscal years 2021-2023.

The Coronavirus Pandemic and resulting government mandates and business closings had a major impact on the Tourism Fund. The Department adjusted and the Board approved a FY2020 budget that included a 50 percent reduction in the Tourism Program budget. Additionally, $155,597 of the Tourism Fund was used to balance that reduced budget. Tourism continued to find ways to market Stafford County during the pandemic. Those efforts continued in 2021.

  • Created a new site to promote local restaurants and take out during the pandemic.
  • Managed and hosted the first sporting event in the Commonwealth after the March lockdown with Kayak Bass Fishing
  • Became the travel sponsor of the Marine Corp Base Guide and the Title Sponsor to the Marine Corp Race Series
  • Worked with the FBI National Academy to secure space for their upcoming 2021 classes.

In January, 2020 the Department terminated a contract for an outside marketing agency and brought all marketing strategy and advertising “in house.” Doing so has improved our marketing and metrics and coordination with our economic development marketing. We are beginning to see improved metrics, even in light of the ongoing pandemic as visitors and meetings begin to "return" to the marketplace. We anticipate this to continue as we launch new campaigns and efforts in Fiscal Year 2023.

Budget Summary

Note: A portion of the Economic Development positions are funded by the Tourism Fund.

Notable Changes


  • Temporary part-time position to a full-time position
  • 4.5% Pay Scale Adjustment
  • 2.0% Salary Increase
  • 2.13% increase in Virginia Retirement Sysstem Rate
  • .03% decrease in the Virginia Retiree Health Insurance Credit Rate


  • Increased Transfer to General Fund for 2% increase in Transient Occupancy Tax Rate


  • Proposed increase to Transient Occupancy Tax Rate from 5% to 7%


The Stafford Tourism Program goals, broadly, are to attract new visitors to Stafford and develop new programs or developments (“initiatives”) that create more opportunity for our citizens and may attract new visitors. That goal may be broadly reflected in an increase in the Tourism Occupancy Tax.

The Service Levels below (historical and goals) have been adjusted to account for more detailed and accurate online metrics:

  • Our direct work will be measured by our marketing (Service levels 1 and 2)
  • Estimates on tourism visitors (Service level 3)
  • The number of quality promotional events we support (Service level 4)

Fund Balance Summary