WILMINGTON, N.C. — The only thing hotter than the sunshine this summer along North Carolina's coast is the tourism numbers.
The Wilmington area is on track to set a record. Some tourists call it recession fatigue. They say they've sat home for too long and need a break. Other call it simply confidence in the economy. What ever the reason, business leaders on the beach say it's a welcome change from the past few years.
The general manager of the Wrightsville Beach Holiday Inn, Anne Marie Hartman, says the good numbers are a sign that the economy is starting to improve and people are traveling more.
Aaron Tuell, public relations manager for the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, said June 2012 occupancy grew 17.7 percent compared to June 2011. For the 2012 calendar year, Tuell said figures were 13 percent higher than 2011.
Amy Johnson with the Courtyard by Marriott at Carolina Beach says the hotel has not had to use discounts to attract visitors this year.
Room occupancy taxes in New Hanover County were up 27 percent in June compared with the previous year.