While July was another high water month on the Outer Banks for visitor spending, the latest data indicates the amount of visitors coming to Dare County this summer has declined to a more balanced level and that the record revenues were driven more by higher prices.
Total retail sales in June also set a new record for the month, holding above $10 million for a third straight year.
According to the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau’s monthly report at the Dare County Tourism Board’s meeting on September 21, gross occupancy collections in July were at $215,518,673, an increase of 5.75 percent from a year ago when of the single-month record of $203,794,691.
For the calendar year, revenues for stays at Dare County hotels, motels, vacation rentals and campgrounds through July were up 0.84 percent from 2022.
Meals collections in July totaled $62,371,753, up 2.01 percent from the single-month record of $61,144,299 in 2022. Gross meals collections for the first seven months of 2023 are 5.12 percent ahead of last year.
“We have seen in our research that the number of people actually dropped this year,” said Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles in a video update posted Monday. “We have fewer people here, but the prices are still up.”
“We do see signs of further settling down,” Nettles said. “Most of the lodging segments, with the exception of hotel/motel and property managers vacation rentals were actually down in the month of July.”
Nettles added that declines can also be identified in the different sections of Dare County, with Hatteras Island the most notable for July and also over the entire year.
He also said that with a few “washout weekends” and brushes with storms in final few weeks of summer, that could have a negative impact on the numbers reported for August and September.
Gross collections on retail sales in June were $10,047,125, up just 0.24 percent over 2022. For the year, retail sales are up 0.7 percent to $40,926,030.
Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles has more details from the Dare County Tourism Board’s September 2023 meeting, including the awarding of 17 event grants for the first half of fiscal year 2023-24: