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
Jeff metrocopy

Public Adjusters are Your Advocates After the Storm

Jeffrey Feldstein - Metro Public Adjustment
Img 0621

Tax Evasion Versus Tax Avoidance

Karen Durda - Century Accounting and Tax Services, Inc.
Alyce 4 april242017

In a Volatile Market, Cheap & Fast Advice Isn’t Good Enough

Alyce Phillips - Old North State Trust LLC

Trending News

Pier 33 Apartments To Start Construction In February

Johanna Cano - Jan 16, 2019

State Eyes $31M For Cape Fear Crossing In New Draft Plan

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jan 16, 2019

Marsello’s To Offer Casual Italian Dining On The Riverfront

Jessica Maurer - Jan 16, 2019

Serpentarium Building Could Shed Its Past, Become Dental Spa

Cece Nunn - Jan 17, 2019

Phun Pop-up Dinners Kick Off Countdown To Food Hall Opening

Jessica Maurer - Jan 16, 2019

In The Current Issue

Apartments Top List Of Sales

Investors snapping up apartment communities, as well as a rental townhome property, represented New Hanover County’s highest real estate sal...


SportGait's Familiar Ties

For Cecil Reynolds, being a board member and investor for Wilmington-based SportGait Inc. is one way to support the community that fostered...


MADE: Building For The Designer Market

A family-owned furniture manufacturer, Lester Furniture Manufacturing Inc. concentrates in high-end, custom and hand-crafted furniture for i...

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

Health Care Heroes 2018
2018 WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with Eric Dinenberg, Rouse Properties