The American Bus Association (ABA) has announced that the Virginia International Tattoo, to be held on April 21-24, 2016, has been designated as the Top U.S. Event of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2016. ABA's 2016 Top 100 Events Selection Committee selected the Virginia International Tattoo from hundreds of event nominations submitted by ABA members. Judges considered the event's broad appeal, its accessibility to motorcoaches and skill at handling large groups, and a variety of other relevant criteria.

For many years, the Tattoo has been included in the ABA’s Top 100 list, which is published as a supplement to the September/October issue of Destinations magazine annually. Top 100 events must offers excellent entertainment value to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world, according to ABA. While the Top 100 Events are not ranked, ABA does highlight one Top U.S. Event and for 2016, the Top Event in the United States is the Virginia International Tattoo & Arts Festival.

Tattoo Producer/Director J. Scott Jackson says “This is an incredible honor and reaffirms our place as a significant driver of tourism for the Hampton Roads Region and the State of Virginia as we prepare for our 20th season in 2016. We look forward to proving the judges right this spring!”

"The attractiveness of the Virginia International Tattoo as a don't-miss entertainment value is only part of why its selection this year is such a distinction for Norfolk, the region, and the Commonwealth of Virginia”, said Peter J. Pantuso, CTIS, ABA's president and CEO. "The real news here is that the Virginia International Tattoo has been recognized as a potential magnet for tourism dollars, at a time when reenergizing domestic tourism is so important to our spirit and our economy. The honor gives Southeastern Virginia an important boost in visibility among professional tour planners."

“Tattoo” refers to a Scottish military last call, when pipes and drums called troops back to post for an evening ceremony. The Virginia International Tattoo, produced by the Virginia Arts Festival, captures the imagination and ignites the soul of a  World-wide audience with an incomparable and emotional spectacle of music and might.

The 2016 Tattoo will feature more than 1,500 military and civilian performers from 10 nations who will share their unique music, dance, culture and pride with the Tattoo audience, showcasing their individual excellence, their esprit de corps, and their friendship as nations.

According to studies completed by researchers at Dunham and Associates, one overnight visit by a motorcoach group can leave up to $25,000 in a local destination's economy. Those dollars are spent on lodging, meals, admissions, fees, shopping, souvenirs, services and local taxes. “Tour groups spend more and stay longer,” Pantuso said. “That's why the Virginia International Tattoo is truly a local economic asset. There is no better way to jump-start tourism than to attract motorcoach groups to a great event and convince them to extend their stay." 

Virginia Arts Festival
Since 1997, Virginia Arts Festival has transformed the cultural scene in southeastern Virginia, presenting great performers from around the world to local audiences and making this historic, recreation-rich region a cultural destination for visitors from across the United States and around the world. The Festival has presented numerous U.S. and regional premieres, and regularly commissions new works of music, dance, and theater from some of today’s most influential composers, choreographers and playwrights. The Festival’s arts education programs reach tens of thousands of area schoolchildren each year through student matinees, in-school performances, artists’ residencies, master classes and demonstrations.

Virginia International Tattoo
The Virginia International Tattoo — long regarded as the most patriotic of the world’s great tattoos — thrills audiences year after year with an awe-inspiring spectacle of music and might. For its 20th Season Celebration performance, the show will feature its largest cast ever, including over 200 pipers and drummers, military bands, drill teams, Celtic dancers, cultural performers, choirs and more. This signature event for the Virginia Arts Festival draws patrons from over 40 states and many nations each year.