Tourists are flocking to North Carolina, and they're saving us money

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- We like calling North Carolina home, but a whole lot of other people seem to enjoy visiting the Tar Heel State - and officials say that saves us money.

From North Carolina's beaches to the mountains and destinations in between, 51 million visitors spent a record $25.3 billion in 2018.

"Tourism is a major economic engine for our state bringing billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs," Gov. Roy Cooper said. "We're proud to welcome visitors from our mountains to our coast and want even more people to know what a great place North Carolina is to spend their time and money."

The governor reported that tourism-industry-supported employment topped 230,000 jobs in 2018.

Tourism officials said many of those jobs are in small businesses.

"The tourism industry's success is shared across North Carolina supporting more than 45,000 small businesses," said Anthony M. Copeland, North Carolina Commerce Secretary. "Tourism means jobs in all of the state's 100 counties."

Tax revenue from visitor spending generates $2 billion a year in annual state and local tax receipts.

Officials said that is saving taxpayers.

"Each North Carolina household saves an average of $532 annually in state and local taxes as a result of tax revenue generated by visitor spending," said Copeland.

Gov. Cooper proclaimed May 5-11, 2019, as Travel and Tourism Week in North Carolina.

The state's nine Welcome Centers are hosting activities throughout the week.

Tourism Facts

  • Domestic travelers spent a record $25.3 billion in 2018, up from $23.9 billion in 2017. That's an increase of 5.6 percent.
  • Visitors to North Carolina generated about $3.9 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2018. That total represents a 4.8 percent increase from 2017.
  • State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 4.7 percent to more than $1.28 billion in 2018.
  • Local tax receipts from visitor spending grew 4.9 percent to $774.6 million.
  • Direct tourism employment in North Carolina increased 2.2 percent to 230,560.
  • Direct tourism payroll increased 5.3 percent to more than $6.3 billion.
  • Visitors spend more than $69 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $5.64 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.5 million in state taxes and $2.1 million in local taxes).
  • Each North Carolina household saves on average $532 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.
  • North Carolina hosted an estimated 51 million visitors in 2018
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