By IRENE NOLAN
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
spending in Dare County, meanwhile, topped $1 billion for the second
straight year, an increase of 3.28 percent.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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
Other highlights of the 2015 totals include:
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.