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N.C. sets record for foreign tourists

Posted May 30, 2008

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— North Carolina attracted more tourists from overseas in 2007 than in any previous year, officials said Friday.

The state drew nearly 358,000 overseas visitors in 2007 to rank 15th in the nation, according to a report released by the International Trade Administration and the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“More and more people realize what a great state North Carolina is and are coming to see the many cultural, historic, natural and recreational treasures we offer,” Gov. Mike Easley said in a statement. “The survey results also show the success that has come from the hard work our tourism offices are doing to promote the state as a travel destination.”

North Carolina was the third-most-popular Southeastern state in the analysis, which uses in-flight surveys given to international passengers flying into the U.S. to determine where they're headed.

The state ranked 18th in 2005, the last time the rankings were issued.

According to the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, overseas visitors to North Carolina spend an average of $2,568 per trip and stay in the state an average of 12 days, compared with domestic visitors who typically spend $549 per trip and stay in the state an average of 3.3 days.

The tourism industry overall contributes more than $16.5 billion to the state’s economy and employs more than 190,000 workers.

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