HB2 could make waves for coastal tourism

Posted May 4, 2016

— Just as it has done across the state, House Bill 2 could soon be dividing coastal communities.

While some North Carolina counties and towns have come out against the law, citing hits to their economies as governments and businesses boycott the state over a lack of discrimination protections for gay and transgender people, many rural communities back the measure.

On the Crystal Coast, the Indian Beach Board of Commissioners sent a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory to lend their support to him and the General Assembly. The letter doesn't specify House Bill 2, referring only to "your initiatives," but Mayor Stewart Pickett said it was clear why the letter was being sent.

"To us, the so-called 'bathroom bill' is a moral issue, and that's why we took our stand on it," Pickett said Wednesday. "We just felt they needed to know there were people behind them. Nobody – no other town – had done this at the time we did it."

In neighboring Emerald Isle, some businesses have voiced concern about the law.

The Carteret County Tourism Development Authority said Emerald Isle Realty has reported several beach house rentals have been canceled because of House Bill 2. But the tourism authority said they haven't seen a rush of cancelations.

Officials with the real estate company couldn't be reached for comment.

"I do think some people will" cancel vacations, said Elly Devoe, manager of Bert's Surf Shop in Emerald Isle.

Town Manager Frank Rush said, however, that he's expecting a banner year for tourism.

Pickett said he's not worried about fallout from the law.

"There's somebody to take their place," he said. "Of course, we'd be concerned (by any cancelation), and we hope everybody will come."


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  • Sue Sloan May 5, 2016
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    Good--maybe the ridiculously high prices will come down!!

  • B.c. Jimmy May 5, 2016
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    WRAL produces a "could" story of no significance and completely ignores Hillary Clinton getting defeated in IndIna

  • Dan Wilder May 5, 2016
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    The average family coming here for vacation have absolutely nothing to do with Gays or trans genders so I doubt it will have any effect on their vacation plans.

  • Dan Wilder May 5, 2016
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    Gays and trans genders only make up only 2% of the population that means that for 98% of the population it's going to be business as usual.

  • Mary Smith May 5, 2016
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    Most people that come to the Outer Banks (at least the ones that rent the massive beach front houses), come from up North. Do you really think they are going to go to a crowded, dirty beach closer to home? Highly unlikely. People come to the Outer Banks for the beautiful, pristine beaches and water.

  • Matt Nickeson May 5, 2016
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    I have read several article predicting a better than average tourism season this year. Somehow I doubt that the bill has much effect one way or the other. Most out of state tourists have made their reservations well before this and let's face facts; How many people care about this when they are planning a beach trip.

  • James Barefoot May 5, 2016
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    Just free advertising, There are never vacant places to stay on the outer banks.
    More liberal Hog Wash, Coastal communities will do fine, Except for a storm