Campground operators in Virginia have seen a surge in business since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to William Small, executive director of the Virginia Campground Association.

“We’re sorry our gain is your pain,” Small said during a recent public hearing about the economic condition of Virginia’s tourism industry.

The pain to which Small referred was the 20% drop in hotel reservations in Virginia and a corresponding decline in restaurant revenues that occurred shortly after Sept. 11, according to the Daily Press of Newport News, Va.

As a result, Virginia officials are considering tax relief for small businesses or a cooperative advertising campaign to give the state’s tourism industry a boost.

But Small told a state task force that Virginia’s campground sector is doing just fine.

“The fact is, people do want to drive and just get out in the country,” where many of Virginia’s colonial era and Civil War historic sites are located, Small said.

People feel safer traveling the countryside and they find staying at a campground a good idea because “they feel in control of their environment,” Small said. “They’re not stuck in a high-rise apartment building. And they don’t have to worry about who might be staying down the hall.”