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NC Tourism Spending Sets Another Record

Visitor spending in North Carolina by year.
Visit North Carolina
N.C. Department of Commerce

North Carolina brought in a record $23.9 billion in tourism spending in last year.

Moreover, North Carolina's tourism industry supported a record 225,000 jobs in 2017.

Wit Tuttell of Visit NC praised an ad campaign encouraging regional visitors to seek out the state's natural beauty. Tuttell says Hurricane Matthew and blowback from North Carolina's controversial "bathroom bill" might have contributed to a drop in overall visitors since 2016.

"We have seen a reduction in some of the volume of visitors to the state, and I think it's mostly on the business travel side: meetings and conventions," he said. "We've been able to rebound against that with the campaign and with increased spending from leisure travelers."

Tuttell said this year's campaign aims to entice new visitors to North Carolina.

"Everybody remembers that first time you saw a waterfall or the first time you went to the ocean," he said. "You know, I still remember the first time my daughter stuck her hands at the ocean and that's a moment that lasts. That's that kind of authentic visitor experience somebody can have when they visit North Carolina."

Tuttell says market research shows tourists who visit North Carolina once are likely to come back.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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