In 1986, Newport News became involved in two regional tourism programs. The first was the Virginia Peninsula Tourism & Conference Bureau, funded by the cities of Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson and York County; and the second was the Virginia Peninsula Tourist Information Center, which was under the direction of Newport News’ Department of Libraries and Information.

As tourism trends changed, the focus on the Virginia Peninsula as a collective marketing effort faded, and more attention was given to each individual locality promoting itself. In 1993, Newport News Tourism was established and operated for two years under a contract with Christopher Newport University.

On July 1, 1995, Newport News Tourism became one division under the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The tourism division set the stage for a more unified effort in promoting the city, including its hotels, attractions, events and restaurants.