Print
Hospitality

Tourism Investments ‘pay Off’

By Sherri Crawford, posted Jun 1, 2018
Local public investments, such as those made in the Riverwalk and downtown Wilmington's riverfront, help draw visitors to the area, officials say. (photo by Jenny Callison)
New Hanover County’s travel economy continues to thrive, with visitor spending up several million dollars over the previous year, according to state data. What’s more, local travel officials also released numbers that confirm the industry’s growing impact, in light of the approaching high travel season.
 
An economic impact study by Visit North Carolina shows that visitor expenditures hit a record $554 million in 2016 (2017 numbers have yet to be released). That’s a 6.42 percent increase over 2015’s $521 million.
 
Moreover, the county has experienced an annual increase in visitor spending since 2010. One factor behind the upturn is the area’s effort to attract visitors, officials say.
 
“What I can see from the state point of view, New Hanover has done a great job of investing in the product; in other words, they’re not just resting on their laurels and saying, ‘Oh we’ve got great beaches, maybe people will come,’” explained Wit Tuttell, director of Visit NC. “They’ve done a lot with the riverfront – invested in that – they have new hotels that have come in and helped support that growth, places like Carolina Beach re-did their boardwalk, and those type of investments pay off.
 
“Visitors have a great experience, and more come, and they spend more money,” he said.
 
Meanwhile, New Hanover County’s room occupancy tax collections also struck a high note. According to Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) officials, the room occupancy tax generated more than $12.5 million in fiscal year 2016-2017, marking a sixth consecutive annual record.
 
New Hanover County’s room occupancy tax is 6 percent of gross receipts, from short term lodging sales. Monies generated by the tax fund support various projects that benefit the community – and in turn, draw tourists.
 
“Nearly every business in New Hanover County is impacted, either directly or indirectly, by the new dollars that visitors bring into our community to help build our local tax base and provide a better quality of place for our residents,” said Kim Hufham, president and CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, in a statement. “A portion of the room occupancy tax collections also help to renourish our beaches, fund our convention center and offset other tourism-related activities such as ocean safety programs.”
 
Meanwhile, jobs are another byproduct of New Hanover County travel, with more than 6,150 jobs supported. The CVB said that number results in a payroll of nearly $130 million.
 
As for attractions that draw visitors and influence tourism spending in the area, options abound, including the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
 
The Kure Beach destination recently launched its seasonal Butterfly Bungalow exhibit, which features hundreds of exotic butterflies. For a $3 fee (aquarium admission is not required, according to the aquarium’s website), visitors can enter the enclosed garden and be surrounded by different species of the winged creatures.
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Hinnant

Intellectual Property Can Add Value to Your Hospitality Business

Chris Hinnant - Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, PLLC
Lyleheadshot2017 1251720228

Community Service PTO Benefits Your Company, as Well as Your Community

JC Lyle - Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry
Martyheadshot

Are You Ready for GDPR?

Marty Cayton - TeamLogic IT of Wilmington & Fayetteville

Trending News

How 3 Guys And A Ga. Firm Helped Wilmington Avoid A Water Crisis

Cece Nunn - Sep 17, 2018

Open For Business: New Announcements (Sept. 18)

Staff Reports - Sep 18, 2018

Employers Work To Reopen Following Hurricane Florence

Christina Haley O'Neal - Sep 17, 2018

In Storm's Aftermath, Gas, Supplies Filter In

Cece Nunn - Sep 18, 2018

Downtown Recovery Ongoing, Flooding Still An Issue

Cece Nunn and Christina Haley O'Neal - Sep 19, 2018

In The Current Issue

Love, Lydia Bakery Moves In

Lydia Clopton opened Love, Lydia in July at 1502 South Third St. The location was previously a home that was remodeled into the bakery....


The Future After Flo

Hurricane Florence will go down in history as a disaster that tested the ability of a hurricane-prone region to cope. Even before Hurricane...


Checklist Of Post-storm Resources

Hurricane Florence has left many homes and businesses in the area with damages that range from simple repairs to more complicated and time-c...

Book On Business

The 2018 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2018 Power Breakfast - Dishing on the Restaurant Biz
2018 WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with Eric Dinenberg, Rouse Properties
2017 Health Care Heroes