2010 tourist spending sets record


RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) – Gov. Bev Perdue announced today that visitors to North Carolina spent a record $17 billion in 2010, an increase of nine percent from 2009. The number was higher than the previous record of $16.8 billion set in 2008. The sixth most visited state in the nation, North Carolina gained nearly 2,000 tourism jobs in 2010 while state tax revenues from visitor spending increased 12.6 percent and have increased 16.2 percent since 2007.

“North Carolina’s natural and cultural treasures bring people and dollars into our state,” Gov. Perdue said during remarks at the N.C. Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Hospitality in Asheville. “It’s a consistently growing part of our economy. Visitors and vacationers spend money that helps local economies thrive and creates jobs here in North Carolina, which is my number one priority.”

More than 40,000 businesses in North Carolina directly provide products and services to travelers. Those visitors spend more than $46.6 million per day in North Carolina and contribute nearly $4.1 million per day in state and local tax revenues as a result of that spending, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

Highlights include:

* 2010 total visitor spending saw an increase of 9 percent to a record $17 billion, up from $15.6 billion in 2009.
* 36.8 million people visited North Carolina in 2010, a 2.5 percent increase from 2009.
* The travel and tourism industry directly employs 185,500 North Carolinians, up 1 percent from 2009.
* Visitor spending directly generated a total of more than $1.5 billion in state and local tax revenues. State tax revenue totaled more than $947 million and local tax revenues were $546 million as a direct result of visitor spending.

The visitor spending figures are the preliminary results of an annual study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association. The study uses sales and tax revenue data, employment figures, and other travel statistics to determine visitor spending in North Carolina, the amount of taxes generated by that spending, and the amount of payroll and employment directly supported by that spending.

“We are thrilled to have record-setting visitor spending for tourism in 2010,” said Lynn Minges, assistant secretary for tourism, marketing and global branding for the North Carolina Department of Commerce. “The fact that tourism helped create jobs and grow North Carolina’s economy in these tough economic times is a testament to both the strength of our tourism product and to the collaborative partnership of the North Carolina travel industry.”

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