Monticellos visitors boost
local economy, study finds
By Robert Brickhouse
Jeffersons importance to the cultural heritage of the Charlottesville
area is so well known that the region is often called Jeffersons
new U.Va. study shows that Monticello,
Jeffersons famous home in Albemarle County, also wields
a significant economic impact. This is partly due to the high-income
level of the many history- and architecture-lovers drawn to the
areas premier tourist attraction.
typical household income of Monticellos approximately half-million
visitors last year was $72,115, or almost twice the national median
figure, according to the study by economist John L. Knapp and
research assistant Catherine E. Barchers of U.Va.s Weldon
Cooper Center for Public Service. More than a quarter of Monticellos
visitors reported incomes above $100,000 and 94 percent had at
least some college education.
visitors accounted for close to 30 percent of the Charlottesville-Albemarle
areas lodging business, the researchers said. Area tourism
officials hope for further strong visitor interest here with the
national bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, which
will kick off next year at Monticello.
study, the first detailed assessment of the dollar magnitude of
Monticellos impact, was conducted for the Thomas Jefferson
all of the 525,147 visitors to Monticello in 2000 were from outside
the local area, coming from almost every state and many foreign
countries. Of greatest importance for the local economy, 50 percent
of the visitors stayed for at least one night in the area and
spent an average of $101 per person.
in all, Monticellos presence resulted in $34 million of
direct spending in the Charlottesville area in 2000, with a total
economic impact of $47 million, Knapp and Barchers calculated.
The impact on employment was the equivalent of 919 full-time jobs.
This accounted for 1.1 percent of total employment in the Charlottesville
study and summary are available online.