|RALEIGH — Gov. Bev Perdue announced today that all of the state’s 100 counties saw increases in visitor spending in 2011, including seven counties that had double-digit increases. Data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development showed that three counties (Mecklenburg, Wake and Guilford) had more than $1 billion in visitor spending in 2011 while Dare, Buncombe, Forsyth and Durham all had more than half a billion in spending.
Domestic visitors to and within North Carolina spent a record $18 billion in 2011, an increase of 8 percent from 2010. For the first time, state tax receipts as a result of visitor spending neared $1 billion in 2011. Local tax revenues totaled nearly $561 million. Visitor expenditures directly generated 187,900 jobs and more than $4 billion in payroll income within North Carolina in 2011.
“Tourism means jobs — nearly 200,000 of them across North Carolina,” said Gov. Bev Perdue. “The depth of the state’s appeal is reflected in the fact that every corner of North Carolina benefited from tourism. More than 37 million people experienced what makes this state such a desirable destination, from our wondrous coast and breathtaking mountains to our lively cities and fascinating towns.”
The visitor spending figures come from an annual study commissioned by the Division of Tourism and conducted by the U.S. Travel Association. The study uses sales and tax revenue data plus employment figures to determine the overall impact of visitor spending in North Carolina. Highlights include:
• Mecklenburg County received more than $4.1 billion in domestic travelers’ expenditures to lead all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Wake County ranked second with $1.7 billion, followed by Guilford County with nearly $1.1 billion.
• Chatham and Davidson counties had the largest percent increases in visitor spending from 2010 with increases of 10.8 percent each. Forsyth and Mecklenburg counties each saw visitor spending increase 10.5 percent, followed by Anson (10.3 percent), Alamance (10.3 percent) and Wake (10.2 percent).
• Mecklenburg County directly employs the most tourism employees with more than 43,000 and has the largest total payroll ($1.4 billion). Wake (19,180), Guilford (11,790) and Dare (11,260) each have more than 10,000 direct tourism employees.
For individual county listings, go to http://www.nccommerce.com/tourism/research/economic-impact/teim. For more information about the travel impact numbers, contact Margo Metzger at the Department of Commerce’s Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, 919-733-7420.