Colonial sites tops with Va. tourists

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Typically, 5 million people visit Virginia's Civil War sites each year, but the Colonial and Revolutionary period sites, led by Colonial Williamsburg, continue to be the major points of historical interest, according to a spokeswoman for the Virginia Tourism Corp.

The recently released results of a national family opinion survey showed that 14.3% of visitors questioned came to Virginia for its colonial history, compared with 8.2% who came to see the Civil War attractions.

The survey queried 10,000 households a month throughout 1997 and 1998, according to the spokeswoman.

Moreover, of those questioned, a greater number visited Colonial Williamsburg (9.6%) than any other attraction, including Busch Gardens (6.6%) and Arlington National Cemetery (6.4%).

The sources of information that respondents said they used in planning their trip or during the trip included travel guides, books or brochures (28%); the American Automobile Association (15%); a travel agent (9%), and the Internet (7%).

An easy Web site to follow is that of the Washington (D.C.) Hotel and Motel Association's official home page, which provides links to package-development sites of interest to travel agents and independent travelers alike.

Each link allows visitors or agents to build a package around one of the attraction-hotel combination specials offered.

The attraction combinations involve a multiday pass for up to five attractions for a flat price.

Among the specials are:

  • Revolutionary Fun (www.revolutionaryfun.com), a five-day, unlimited pass to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Victory Center, Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.
  • Thrills and Spills (www.thrillsandspills.com), a three-day pass featuring Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.
  • This is how the vacation-planning sites work, using the Revolutionary Fun special as a sample.

    Browsers select an accommodation from a scroll-down menu of more than 65 hotels and inns, then proceed to a worksheet that has been customized with the name of the hotel or inn selected, the rate per room and the cost for the attraction combination (in this case the Revolutionary Fun pass, $111.85 per adult and $90.70 per child, from May 6 through Sept. 6).

    On the worksheet, boxes are provided for the user to enter the number of hotel nights and the number of adults and children who require a pass.

    By filling in the blanks and clicking on the "calculate" prompt, the browser brings up the cost of the entire vacation package on screen.

    In minutes, a person can run through a number of attraction and hotel options until they find combinations that suit them.

    If a visitor with a spouse and two children were to select the Revolutionary Fun pass and four nights at the Best Western Williamsburg at $89 per night per room, the cost of the pass, the hotel and the service charge (inserted automatically) would be $769.10.

    On the other hand, if the same visitor were to choose the Colonial Williamsburg Inn at $348 per night, the total package would amount to $1,805.10.

    The passes are not sold in Williamsburg, so visitors must purchase the package prior to arrival.

    Williamsburg Hotel/Motel Association
    Phone: (800) 465-5563
    Web: www.williamsburghotel.com

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