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New Hanover sees big growth in tourism spending

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- New Hanover County was among the counties that saw the greatest growth in tourism spending last year, according to the governor's office.

State leaders say all of North Carolina's 100 counties saw increases in visitor spending in 2012.

New Hanover County saw the second largest percentage increase in tourist spending with an 8.0-percent surge. That trailed only 8.1 percent growth in Currituck County. Those counties also had the largest increases in direct tourism employment from 2011 to 2012, including a 5.0-percent uptick for New Hanover.

Click here for more on the impact of tourism spending

Among the counties in our area, Brunswick County made the most money from tourism. The study says tourism spending generated $27.17 million in local tax revenue in Brunswick County. That's based on overall spending of $445.86 million in the county. Visitors spent more than $460 million in New Hanover County generating $18.43 million in local taxes.

Domestic visitors to and within North Carolina spent a record $19.4 billion in 2012, an increase of five percent from 2011. State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending neared $1 billion in 2012 and local tax revenues directly resulting from visitor spending totaled more than $579 million. Visitor expenditures directly generated 193,610 jobs and more than $4.3 billion in payroll income within North Carolina in 2012.

"Tourism is a key tenet of our economic development strategy for North Carolina, and it means jobs for our citizens - nearly 200,000 of them across North Carolina," Gov. Pat McCrory said in a news release. "It's encouraging that every corner of North Carolina is benefiting from tourism. More than 45 million people experienced our state's beauty, from our famous mountains to our incredible coast and our vibrant cities and fascinating towns in between."

The visitor spending figures come from an annual study commissioned by the Division of Tourism and conducted by the US Travel Association.

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