North Carolina Attracts Record Visitor Spending; Highlights Tourism Week

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Raleigh, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory announced today that North Carolina tourism generated record visitor spending in 2015 with a total of $21.9 billion, a 2.7 percent increase over 2014 which outpaced the national average for growth last year of only 2.1 percent. Additionally, tourism industry-supported employment topped 211,000 jobs to set another record for the state.

“Nearly 50 million people from across the United States visited North Carolina destinations last year,” Governor McCrory said. “The money they spend supports 211,400 jobs and more than 45,000 businesses.”  

Governor McCrory, who proclaimed May 1-7, 2016, as Tourism Week in North Carolina, applauded the growth in direct tourism employment, which was up 3.2 percent over 2014. Payroll income grew even more, increasing 6.5 percent to top $5 billion for the first time.

The figures are from research conducted by the U.S. Travel Association on behalf of Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Other findings from the study showed state tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 6.1 percent to more than $1.1 billion. Visitors spent nearly $60 million per day in North Carolina last year and contributed about $4.9 million per day in state and local tax revenues as a result of that spending. An overview of the research findings can be found online here.

“The tourism industry’s success is shared across North Carolina,” said John E. Skvarla III, North Carolina Commerce Secretary. “Tourism means jobs in all of the state’s 100 counties. In addition, each North Carolina household saves $475 annually in state and local taxes as a result of taxes generated by visitor expenditures.” 

Tourism Week in North Carolina is part of National Travel & Tourism Week, which also runs May 1-7. The state’s nine Welcome Centers will host activities throughout the week. 

Tourism Facts

  • Domestic travelers spent a record $21.9 billion in 2015, up from $21.3 billion in 2014. That’s an increase of 2.7 percent. 
  • Visitors to North Carolina generated about $3.4 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2015. That total represents a 5.8 percent increase from 2014.
  • State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 6.1 percent to top $1.1 billion in 2015. 
  • Local tax receipts from visitor spending grew 3.7 percent to $659.8 million. 
  • Direct tourism employment in North Carolina increased 3.2 percent, to 211,400. 
  • Direct tourism payroll increased 6.5 percent to $5.2 billion. 
  • Visitors spend more than $59.99 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $4.86 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3 million in state taxes and $1.8 million in local taxes). 
  • Each North Carolina household saves $475 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.  
  • More than 45,000 businesses in North Carolina directly provide products and services to travelers. 
  • For every $1 invested in paid media advertising by Visit North Carolina (a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina), the state receives $184 in new visitor spending, $9 in new state taxes and $6 in new local taxes.  
  • For every $1.21 invested by Visit North Carolina in paid media advertising, one trip is generated to the state.  
  • North Carolina benefits from a 15-to-1 return on investment of tax dollars invested in paid media advertising through Visit North Carolina. 
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