Area tourism leaders hope for successful summer after industry takes hard hit due to COVID-19

NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — It’s National Tourism Week.

On Tuesday, New Hanover County and North Carolina tourism directors held a webinar on the pandemic’s effect and tourism’s potential recovery.

According to the visitor’s bureau, there is good news for New Hanover beaches. Visits and business are up at Kure, Carolina, and Wrightsville beaches, but down in Wilmington.

Tourism officials said it’s because of canceled business travel and conventions, which they hope to see return next month.

Restaurant and hospitality lobbyist Lynn Minges said the economic impact has placed a heavier burden on tourism than almost any other industry.

“If we look at the jobs lost, our industry lost 103,000 jobs during the downfall,” said Minges. “During COVID, other sectors lost only 35 percent. So we suffered you know, about 20 percent of all job loss.”

Officials also discussed ongoing strategy, noting a 71 percent increase in those wanting to take a vacation this summer (mostly millennials).

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