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
Deedee gasch

Analyzing the Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Tiger Woods, His Bar, and His Girlfriend: A Lawyer’s Perspective

Deedee Gasch - Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP
Volety 0020 1121724229

UNCW STEAM Team Program Provides Access Point to Higher Education

Aswani Volety - UNCW College of Arts and Sciences
Chheadshot

Overcoming the Opioid Overdose Crisis

Trending News

Wish You Were Here? Local Airbnb Rental Lands On The Most Wish Lists For New Hanover County

Cece Nunn - Jun 18, 2019

N.C. Azalea Festival Announces Board

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jun 18, 2019

Luxury Home Sales Reach Record Height In May

Cece Nunn - Jun 17, 2019

Retail Store Benefiting Human Trafficking Survivors Opens Downtown

Johanna Cano - Jun 18, 2019

Scoopin’ Yummies A Sweet Sensation In Carolina Beach

Jessica Maurer - Jun 18, 2019

In The Current Issue

WilmingtonBiz Magazine's Health Issue Is Out

The Greater Wilmington Business Journal's latest edition of the WilmingtonBiz Magazine is out. The issue takes an in-depth look at the area'...


MADE: Production Capacity

From power cords to nuclear fuel, manufacturing companies across the Cape Fear region are making a wide range of products. Here’s a recap of...


Manufacturer On Board To Invest $25M

With its proximity to the Cape Fear River and customer markets, the Wilmington area provides an essential location for National Gypsum, a gy...

Book On Business

The 2019 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`
Transporting the Future - Power Breakfast 3.12.2019
Health Care Heroes 2018