According to a recent survey by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, about 60 percent of people are in town for pleasure, not for school or business -- even with the Research Triangle Park, large corporations and educational institutions.
In fact, Wake County is the No. 2 visitor destination in the state in terms of overall spending, topping more than $1 billion last year. More than 10 million people visited last year-- a 27 percent increase from 2000.
"We had the opportunity to play golf, visit some friends and take in the sites of Downtown Raleigh," said Jeffrey Dumpson, of Salisbury, Md., who was visiting Downtown Raleigh with his family on Wednesday.
Tourism leaders credit a lot of the increase to more people visiting relatives and friends, as well as the growing shopping destinations, and attractions.
"The parks, museums, the wonderful monuments -- you can understand why they'd come for leisure," Dumpson said.
The four most popular attractions, according to tourism leaders, are the State Fairgrounds, Museum of Natural Sciences, Alltel Pavilion and the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts.
And although many people are staying for the night, others are choosing to just take a drive. Nearly 60 percent of visitors are traveling more than 50 miles for a day trip.
"We are going to take this information and take the appropriate strategic shifts to try and generate additional spending in Raleigh and Wake County," said Martin Armes, director of communications and marketing for the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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