Tourism experts: North Carolina has lost more than $300M due to pandemic

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The pandemic has cast a long shadow over the area’s tourism industry.

On Thursday, the Wilmington Visitors Bureau held a webinar on how badly the coronavirus has affected business.

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Visit NC Executive Director Wit Tuttell says the state has lost about more than $300 million in tourist dollars since the pandemic began.

He adds that although travel to the state’s outdoor destinations like parks and beaches is up, commercial hotel revenue is down nearly 45%.

Tutell says his research reveals what visitors are looking for.

“It’s really important that people aren’t trying to discount their way out of this,” Tutell said. “That does not seem from any of the research we’ve seen, and I’m sure you’ll hear more about this, that’s not really what people are looking for. They’re looking for safety and security, not price breaks.”

The panel also talked about “Count on Me NC,” a public health effort by businesses to keep visitors safe, and about the importance of masks and social distancing.