RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) --The City of Raleigh has earned a top spot on an international travel list.
Forbes Travel Guide named Raleigh one of their Top 12 Destinations of 2017. Raleigh is one of only six mainland US destinations on the list.
"It's a great way to start the year, to really turn the corner, and start to look ahead," said Greater Raleigh Visitor's Bureau Spokesperson Scott Peacock.
Tourism officials and business owners throughout the Capital City are celebrating after Raleigh and the rest of North Carolina took a financial hit in 2016 over House Bill 2.
Wake County is reporting a $9.7 million loss because of the controversial law. Dozens of organizations cancelled sporting events or conventions.
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Peacock said, "It's an opportunity for us to try and educate people how welcome and open Raleigh is and the fact that we have been that way the whole time."
Niall Hanley owns several downtown bars and restaurants. He's is getting ready to open Morgan Street Food Hall, which is highlighted in the Forbes article.
The place under construction right now and ABC11 was able to get a sneak peek of the sprawling 22,000 square foot space. The hall will showcase a cornucopia of North Carolina cuisine.
"There's going to be various kiosks," explain Hanley as he tours the hall. "If you come to a place like this, you get so many different options that are local."
Hanley is honored to receive a nod from Forbes and also hopes the accolade will help Raleigh combat the backlash over HB2.
"You can't judge a city by certain governances and you can't judge a city by certain rules and regulations, but by the people," he said. "We're here trying to make sure that the tourists, when they come, have a great time and hopefully they appreciate this as one of those places," said Hanley.
The publication notes Raleigh's culinary scene as a reason to visit the capital city.
"But just as new places around town start to find their culinary groove, Raleigh-area standards are keeping their kitchens cooking with a commitment to fresh ingredients and a calendar stuffed with epicurean fun," Forbes stated.
Here are the Forbes Travel Guide Top 12 Destinations:
-Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
-Raleigh, North Carolina
-Los Angeles/Beverly Hills, California
-Santa Barbara, California