Tourism Spending Sets Record in 2008
Domestic visitors to and within North Carolina spent a record $16.9 billion in 2008, an increase of 2.1 percent from 2007.
The previous record of $16.5 billion was set in 2007.
The visitor spending figures are the preliminary results of an annual study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association for the N.C. Department of Com-merce's Division of Tourism, Film, and Sports Development. The study uses sales and tax revenue data, and employment figures to determine the overall impact of visitor spending in North Carolina.
"The tourism industry is a critical economic engine for North Carolina, and this continued growth in revenues is a positive sign," said Gov. Beverly Perdue. "From Murphy to Manteo, the Tar Heel state has countless treasures that attract visitors year after year."
State tax revenues from visitors increased by 3.5 percent from 2007, rising up to $843.2 million in 2008.
Local tax revenues also increased, gaining 2.5 percent from 2007 to total $542.3 million in 2008. During the last five years, visitor spending has increased 27.3 percent while state and local tax revenue is up 20.7 percent.
Highlights of the U.S. Travel Association study include:
n 2008 total visitor spending saw an increase of 2.1 percent to $16.9 billion, up from $16.5 billion in 2007.
n The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 190,000 North Carolinians, which remained flat compared to 2007.
n The tourism industry generated a total of more than $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenues, up 3.1 percent from 2007. State tax revenue totaled $843.2 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. Some $542.3 million in local taxes was generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.
North Carolina also moved up in a study from TNS TravelsAmerica. North Carolina was the sixth most visited state in 2008, up from the seventh most visited in 2007.
"The fact that North Carolina went from the seventh most-visited state in the nation in 2007 to the sixth in 2008 shows that despite the fact that fewer people are traveling, we are still gaining in market share over our closest competitors," said Lynn Minges, assistant secretary for tourism, marketing and global branding for the N.C. Department of Commerce.
Tourism remains one of the state's most vital industries. The economic activity and employment generated by tourism span various economic sectors.
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