Domestic tourism brought in a record $22.9 billion dollars to North Carolina last year. That's despite Hurricane Matthew and boycotts over House Bill 2, the so-called bathroom bill, contributing to a drop in the actual number of visitors to the state.
North Carolina has always attracted visitors from the East Coast, but Wit Tuttell of "Visit North Carolina" credits a campaign promoting state parks with increasing in-state tourism.
“We did a big campaign promoting state parks and trying to get people to extend their stays when going to visit state parks,” Tuttell said.
The state Economic Development Partnership says 97 out of North Carolina's 100 counties saw an uptick in visitor spending in 2016.
Tuttell said even economically distressed counties saw a boost. For example, Cherokee County saw more than 13 percent growth after opening a casino.
“And so I think what that shows is that if you add product, if you add things for people to do and see, then people will add that spending,” Tuttell said.