50 million tourists spent $23 billion in North Carolina last year, an all-time high, according to a new report by the U.S. Travel Association. These tourism dollars supported 45,000 small businesses, 218,340 jobs, and generated $3.6 billion in taxes.
And much of that spending was undoubtedly linked to outdoor recreation; figures also released today by the Outdoor Industry Association show that in 2016, outdoor recreation in North Carolina accounted for over $19 billion in consumer spending — supporting 192,000 jobs, $5.6 billion in wages, and generating $1.3 billion in taxes.
“The tourism industry’s success is shared across North Carolina,” said Wit Tuttell, Vice President for Tourism at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC). “Tourism means jobs in all of the state’s 100 counties. In addition, each North Carolina household saves $497 annually in state and local taxes as a result of tax revenue generated by visitor spending.”
A few things to keep in mind the next time you’re stuck behind an RV with Florida plates:
- Domestic travelers spent a record $22.91 billion in 2016, up from $21.96 billion in 2015. That’s an increase of 4.3 percent.
- Visitors to North Carolina generated about $3.6 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2016. That total represents a 4.8 percent increase from 2015.
- State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 5.2 percent to nearly $1.2 billion in 2016.
- Local tax receipts from visitor spending grew 4.8 percent to $692.8 million.
- Direct tourism employment in North Carolina increased 3.2 percent to 218,340.
- Direct tourism payroll increased 5.9 percent to nearly $5.6 billion.
- Visitors spend more than $62.7 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $5.14 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.2 million in state taxes and $1.9 million in local taxes).
- Each North Carolina household saves $497 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.
- More than 45,000 businesses in North Carolina directly provide products and services to travelers, with travelers directly contributing more than 26 percent to their total products and services.