Visitor spending hits record high in 2019 for Pender County

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Many dunes on Surf City beaches are still damaged from Hurricane Florence. 7/25/19

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Pender County says 2019 was a record year for tourism despite still rebounding for Hurricane Florence.

“Tourism is the second leading industry behind agriculture in Pender County,” Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism director, said. “The increase to $105.76 million in visitor spending is a record high.”

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The county says this is an increase of 4 percent from 2018.

Proctor added, especially in the first quarter of 2019, the community was rebuilding from Hurricane Florence and many beach rentals and motels were still under construction. To achieve an increase was significant for the Pender County Tourism industry.

The data released Sept. 1, outlines that the tourism industry employs more than 860 people in Pender County with a total payroll of more than $19.5 million.

Proctor says state tax revenue generated by visitor spending in Pender County totaled $5.01 million, adding about $7.31 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.

“Good tourism is economic development in Pender County as more people discover our region as a great place to live, work, and play,” Proctor said.

She says domestic visitor spending increased statewide.

“The $26.7 billion in total spending represented an increase of 5.6 percent from 2018,” she wrote to WWAY.

Visitors to North Carolina set a record for spending in 2019.

The data documenting the 2018 domestic visitor spending impact comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. The study was prepared by the U.S. Travel Association.