Local News

U.S. tourists spent $16.9B in N.C. last year

Posted May 12, 2009

— Despite the slowing economy, U.S. tourists spent a record $16.9 billion in North Carolina last year, officials said Tuesday.

The visitor spending topped the $16.5 billion figure from 2007, which was the previous record, and positions the state to top the $17.1 billion in total visitor spending – domestic and foreign tourists – set in 2007.

"The tourism industry is a critical economic engine for North Carolina, and this continued growth in revenues is a positive sign,” Gov. Beverly Perdue said in a statement.

The figures are the preliminary results of an annual study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association for the state Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development. The study uses sales and tax revenue data and employment figures to determine the overall impact of visitor spending in North Carolina.

State tax revenues from visitors increased 3.5 percent from 2007, to $843.2 million. Local tax revenues also increased, gaining 2.5 percent to $542.3 million.

During the last five years, visitor spending has increased 27.3 percent, while state and local tax revenue is up 20.7 percent, according to the annual study.

North Carolina also moved from the seventh-most-visited state in 2007 to the sixth-most-visited last year, a study by TNS TravelsAmerica found.

“Despite the fact that fewer people are traveling, we are still gaining in market share over our closest competitors,” Lynn Minges, assistant secretary for Tourism, Marketing and Global Branding for the state Department of Commerce, said in a statement.

The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 190,000 North Carolinians, officials said.


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  • JustAName May 12, 2009

    In Michigan they don't start school until after Labor Day and end before Memorial Day to maximize the tourist season. Of course, they are hurting because of other reasons.

  • vote4changeASAP May 12, 2009

    Odd that this article unfolds after my comments this morning regarding the coastal insurance rates. (17 billion dollars generated in NC from tourism in 2008)

    Someone must be paying attention.

  • planter May 12, 2009

    Go figure. This headline and the next one about starting school earlier. Our legislators are really on top of things...probably just my stupidity thinking one might relate to the other.

  • grantncsu May 12, 2009

    What a ridiculus headline. How much of these "US tourists" are North Carolinians? So we justify expanding government interference in the private sector under the auspices of "economic development and tourism" by counting ourselves as tourists. I wonder how the state chooses the locations and facilities that are promoted anyhow?

  • EyesintheSkies May 12, 2009

    If you truly thought Perude was going to be a straight shooter, I have a land deal for you!! She has learned at the feet of the very best in corrupt politics. And she's a teacher's union hack to boot.

  • VT1994Hokie May 12, 2009

    I agree with most of you writers on this one. Where does all this money go? I question the ethics of many in State Gov't. Do we know all that we think that we know. I think not. Look at the corrupt people leading us. Many are now in prison. Governor Easley just keeps us in the news lately.

    I truly thought that Governor Perdue was going to shoot straight. Now, I am wondering; is there anyone that cares about the working people--outside of politics?

  • hawk_fan May 12, 2009

    This is interesting timing for the article as the legislature is planning to move the start up date of school from August 25 to August 8. They originally moved it later to help the tourism industry.

  • jonslm May 12, 2009

    And you tell us state employees we have to take a cut in pay when the state is making more than the last 2 years.Something is rotten in Raleigh with State Government.

  • shakenbake68 May 12, 2009

    good example of how you need to spend money to make money. Infrastructure, highways, ease of access, attractions all help to generate revenue for the state. Very good return on investment.

  • paulawindley May 12, 2009

    And is that going to help those 190,000 employees?? Just more profit for your pocket Bev...