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Life and Religion

Visitor spending rises in all N.C. counties
Domestic visitor spending jumps to record $19.4 billion
 
Published Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:57 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

clientuploads/v38n13photos/NASCAR Hall of Fame by CRVA_300.jpg
PHOTO/CHARLOTTE REGIONAL VISITORS AUTHORITY
Charlotte's NASCAR Hall of Fame has not brought in as much revunue as expected, but Mecklenburg County continues to bring in millions of dollars in revenue from tourism. Domestic travelers spent more than $4.4 million in the county in 2012.

All of North Carolina’s 100 counties saw an increase in visitor spending in 2012, according to data released by Gov. Pat McCrory and N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker.

Data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development showed that three counties (Mecklenburg, Wake and Guilford) had more than $1 billion in visitor spending in 2012 while Dare, Buncombe, Forsyth and Durham all had more than half a billion in spending.

Domestic visitors to and within North Carolina spent a record $19.4 billion in 2012, an increase of five percent from 2011.

According to McCrory’s office, visitor expenditures directly generated 193,610 jobs and more than $4.3 billion in payroll income within North Carolina in 2012.

“Tourism is a key tenet of our economic development strategy for North Carolina,” McCrory said. “It means jobs for our citizens – nearly 200,000 of them across North Carolina. It’s encouraging that every corner of North Carolina is benefiting from tourism. More than 45 million people experienced our state’s beauty, from our famous mountains to our incredible coast and our vibrant cities and fascinating towns in between.”

The visitor spending figures come from an annual study commissioned by the Division of Tourism and conducted by the U.S. Travel Association. The study uses sales and tax revenue data plus employment figures to determine the overall impact of visitor spending in North Carolina.

Other highlights from the study include:

  • Mecklenburg County received more than $4.4 million in domestic travelers’ expenditures, which is by far the most in the state. Wake Country ranked second with nearly $1.8 billion, followed by Guilford County with nearly $1.2 billion.
  •  Mecklenburg County has the largest payroll at $1.4 billion and directly employs the most tourism employees with more than 45,000 employees followed by Wake (19,710), Guilford (12,190) and Dare (11,590).
  • The same counties that led growth in visitor spending also had the larges increases in direct tourism employment from 2011 to 2012.

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