Visit Virginia Beach

Click the play button to watch the entire interview

Virginia Beach welcomed groups back this past summer, with over a half-dozen groups coming to the area and more scheduled into the fall. The area is especially looking forward to the holiday season, when the famous boardwalk is lit up and motorcoaches can drive up and down to see the holiday lights show.

Jim Coggin reports that most groups are coming from cities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio, with the majority being retail tours. Coggin points out that instead of 55 passengers on a full bus, they are bringing anywhere from 18-25 passengers. A couple pre-formed groups arrived with a few more passengers in tow.

What’s the experience been like? Coggin states that with 28 miles of beaches and a three-mile boardwalk, there’s plenty of space to social distance. “Our hotels have been doing a great job providing a safe environment, as well as our attractions. We are working very hard to provide that safe, clean environment. All the groups that have been here have had a great time,” he said.

And because of its location, being within a tankful of gas for two-thirds of the U.S. population, the area had a relatively good summer. “For July we were only down 14% over last year. In August we were down only 16%. We are definitely pleased with that,” Coggin said.

“We launched a summer smarter program as a way for our partners to say what they were doing to promote a safe and clean environment. We also hired beach ambassadors to patrol the boardwalk. Everybody was very respectful and considerate of the regulations we had,” Coggin continued.

Aside from the beach, the area offers a lively dining and entertainment complex called the Town Center as a great place to spend a few hours in the afternoon or evening.

Virginia Beach also partnered with neighboring Norfolk on a summer Together at Last program, which provided great discounts at area activities in both cities. “The program was very successful and has been extended to the fall,” said Coggin.

The Surf, Sand and Study program launched in September with discounts at hotels, restaurants, attractions and shops. It was done in response to the remote school and work environment. With everyone learning and working virtually, the bureau thought to promote Virginia Beach as a place to come and  study and work remotely while enjoying the Atlantic Ocean. Discounts are available at many attractions, including a historic lighthouse, the Virginia Aquarium, dolphin- watching cruises and the military aviation museum.

Going forward, Coggin has a lot of group business on the books for 2021. “We’re being optimistic, hoping that things open up soon and that people continue to travel to Virginia Beach,” said Coggin.

For group booking, contact Coggin at, 757-385-6642. 

For more great interviews and insights into group travel check out our Traveling Tribes podcast.