North Carolina Tourism
The tourism industry is a vital component of the North Carolina's economic stability as benefits of tourism touch each of the state's 100 counties. Direct tourism employment continues to grow in lodging, transportation, food service and retail employment sectors to help serve visitors that spend more than $55 million per day in North Carolina. In 2013, domestic travelers spent a record $20.2 billion, up from $19.4 billion in 2012- an increase of 4.1 percent. This record visitor spending supported more than 40,000 North Carolina businesses and directly supported nearly 200,000 jobs all across the state. The state's 2013 total visitor volume was 52.5 million, up nearly 16 percent from 2012. As the state's natural scenic beauty, rich history and culture, vibrant cities, quaint small towns, and central east coast location make it an ideal travel destination, North Carolina continues to rank as the sixth most visited state for domestic travel. And the abundance of direct air access into the state from national and international destinations around the globe have helped to position it as preferred international travel destination.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce works to develop and promote North Carolina as a primary travel destination. Since October 2014, this work has been spearheaded by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the new public-private organization contracted to lead North Carolina's marketing programs, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
Key focus areas for Visit North Carolina include consumer advertising and promotions, public relations strategies designed to garner positive media attention about travel opportunities within the state, promotion of group travel, and recruitment of sporting events into the state. In addition, Visit North Carolina provides technical assistance to communities who embrace tourism as an economic development strategy and seek to develop and promote tourism assets. To this end, Visit North Carolina helps to foster collaboration with other partners and allies in effort to attract visitors and their dollars into these areas.
Visit North Carolina develops and executes a comprehensive state-wide marketing and promotional program that is designed to bolster travel to and within the state. It works closely with tourism destination marketing organizations, private businesses-- including hotels, restaurants, and attractions, non-profits, other state agencies, and a multitude of allies across the state to collaborate, plan, and leverage resources in order to accomplish this goal.