August 24, 2016

Tourism-related spending in Dare County tops $1 billion for second year


A new report from Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, shows that visitors spent a record $21.9 billion statewide last year, an increase of nearly 3 percent.

Tourism-related spending in Dare County, meanwhile, topped $1 billion for the second straight year, an increase of 3.28 percent.

Dare had the fourth highest total for tourism spending in the state, behind only the three metropolitan counties of Wake, Mecklenburg, and Guilford.

Hyde County came in at 73rd with $33.5 million in spending, an increase of 1.1 percent

The report also noted that spending increased in 91 of the state's 100 counties in 2015.

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

Visitor expenditures in 2015 directly supported 211,487 jobs and generated nearly $5.3 billion in payroll income across North Carolina. State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending topped $1.1 billion, and local tax revenues directly resulting from visitor spending totaled more than $660 million.

Dare County ranked fifth in the amount of state sales tax collected last year at $50.48 million, and local tax collections topped $47 million, up 4.2 percent and the third most of any county.

Hyde County collected $1.59 million in state sales tax and $1.82 million in local taxes.

In Dare County, the report said, 12,710 jobs were supported by visitor spending.

“Tourism is a major force in North Carolina’s economic development,” Gov. Pat McCrory said. “The industry is fueling a continued growth in jobs and contributing substantial sums to the state budget and local economies in every corner of our great state.”

“Nothing compares with our state’s diverse natural beauty and rewarding experiences at every turn,” North Carolina Commerce Secretary Skvarla said. “We can take pride in North Carolina’s position as the sixth most-visited state in the nation with nearly 55 million visitors last year.”

Other highlights of the 2015 totals include:

  • Mecklenburg County ranked first among North Carolina’s 100 counties, receiving $5 billion in domestic travelers’ expenditures. Wake County ranked second with $2.1 billion, followed by Guilford County with $1.3 billion and Dare with $1.1 billion. Buncombe County, for the first time, topped $1 billion in visitor spending.
  • The largest year-over-year percent increases in visitor spending were seen in Polk (11.8 percent), Cherokee (7.8 percent), Vance (4.7 percent), Henderson (4.7 percent) and Union (4.6 percent) counties. Montgomery, Catawba and Cleveland counties followed with a 4.5 percent increase each. Rounding out the top 10 in largest increases were Richmond and Pasquotank counties (4.4 percent).
  • Positive spending growth was seen throughout the state’s economic development regions. The Western (3.9 percent) and North Central (3.3 percent) regions experienced the strongest growth, yet all eight regions had spending growth of 2 percent or more.
  • Mecklenburg County had the largest number of direct tourism employees (49,870) and the largest payroll ($1.7 billion). Four other counties had more than 10,000 direct tourism employees: Wake (21,897), Guilford (13,127), Dare (12,711) and Buncombe (10,637).
  • Ninety-two percent of the state’s counties saw direct tourism employment growth in 2015. Counties with the largest year-over-year increases in direct tourism employment were Polk (12.1 percent), Cherokee (7.4 percent), Vance (5.0 percent), Union (4.9 percent), Montgomery (4.8 percent), Richmond (4.7 percent) and Pasquotank (4.7 percent).

Click here to read the full report.

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