State News

Discounts help N.C. tourism areas as spending drops

Posted September 8, 2009 7:59 a.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2009 8:27 a.m. EDT

— Many North Carolina attractions say discounts helped keep them afloat this summer.

The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday that most destinations expect declines in revenue this summer to be less than in 2008 because of aggressive marketing.

The Explore Asheville Web site to offer deeply discounted hotel rooms and packages. Marla Tambellini with the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau said the declines in tourism numbers this year were smaller than 2008.

The Mile High Kite Festival in Beech Mountain offered free kites to the first 200 children Sunday.

Rain hurt the coast during the Labor Day weekend.

Overall, hotels, motels and campgrounds on the Outer Banks had an increase in occupancy. However, weeklong cottage rentals were down in Dare County, a reflection of people taking shorter trips.

A campaign by the state Department of Commerce urged North Carolinians to travel "smart" during the recession, to look for deals but still keep traveling.

North Carolina's hotel, restaurant and resort industries employ about 10 percent of the state's work force. In 2008, tourists spent a record $16.9 billion in North Carolina.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer