RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's tourism industry generated $26 billion in visitor spending across all communities in 2018, a 4.4% increase over 2017.

Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday that the tourism industry also provided $1.8 billion in state and local revenue in 2018. That's an increase of 2.9% compared to the previous year.

The slogan "Virginia is for Lovers" was developed in 1969 by Richmond-based advertising firm Martin & Woltz, now the Martin Agency. It is the longest-running state tourism slogan in the country.

Destinations around the state are participating in the commemoration of "50 Years of LOVE" and celebrating the impact tourism has on Virginia's economy and communities.

The travel industry is the fifth-largest employer in Virginia.

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