Appetite for 'Hunger Games' draws NC tourism

April 18, 2012 2:17:51 PM PDT
The 'Hunger Games' opened Friday at midnight for millions of eager fans across the country, but folks in North Carolina will experience a special treat. The action-packed movie based on the first book in the trilogy by Suzanne Collins was filmed in western North Carolina.

Officials hope the movie that has already raked in millions will fuel tourism in the state. The filming alone has already made a significant impact in the state's economy.

"The cast and crew spent $60 million, directly in North Carolina. They employed about 5,000 people," Director of NC Division of Tourism Whit Tuttell said.

Tuttell believes there will be an even bigger impact over time.

"The last two weeks the most popular search term on visitnc.com, which is the state's tourism web site, has been 'Hunger Games,'" Tuttell said.

The web site has an entire section dedicated to the movie, and includes information on a four-day self-guided tour through some of the places featured in the film.

The hope is that 'Hunger Games' will have the same draw as 'Dirty Dancing' for Asheville. Tuttell said fans of the movie still come to visit Lake Lure.

"We're hoping it'll have sort of the 'Dirty Dancing' effect on it, where people want that attachment and will come to visit it," Tuttell said.

Click here for more on Hunger Games attractions in North Carolina.

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