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
Webilm julieformal kellystarbuckcom mg 5471

Nonstop Flights Drive Real Estate Investment While Keeping Family and Friends Connected

Julie Wilsey - Wilmington International Airport
Karagansmanncshlaw300x300

What’s the Penalty Applied by Medicaid for Gifts or Transfers?

Kara Gansmann - Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP
Mike stonestreet 300x300

Play it Safe When Planning Summer Celebrations

Mike Stonestreet - CAMS (Community Association Management Services)

Trending News

Mall Redevelopment Plans Show Grocery Store For Sears Space

Cece Nunn - Jun 14, 2018

City, County Plan To Buy Echo Farms Facilities, Open Space For $1.7M

Cece Nunn - Jun 13, 2018

Local Restaurant Leaders Dish About The Restaurant Business

Jessica Maurer - Jun 13, 2018

Mad Mole Brewing Now Open

Jessica Maurer - Jun 13, 2018

At Annual Conference, Economic Developers Say CCX Talks Are Ongoing

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jun 13, 2018

In The Current Issue

Banks Respond To Dodd-Frank Changes

Just how will the much-trumpeted recent changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act affect local financial...


Mirimichi Looks To Changing Landscape

Russ Britton started his sustainable landscape products company with a star-studded partnership and plans to continue to grow Mirimichi Gree...


Labor Market Checkup

The demand for health care workers in an area like the Cape Fear region is expected to remain healthy for years to come, experts say....

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: The Main Event
2018 WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with Eric Dinenberg, Rouse Properties
2017 Health Care Heroes