Nicholas Sparks’ movie created tourism boost for Southport - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Nicholas Sparks’ movie created tourism boost for Southport

The Town of Southport is seeing an extra boom in visitors this summer, and many tourists cite Safe Haven as their reason for visiting. The Town of Southport is seeing an extra boom in visitors this summer, and many tourists cite Safe Haven as their reason for visiting.

SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) – The populations of Southport, Bald Head Island and Oak Island swell by thousands during the vacation months of June, July and August.

But sometimes those vacations turn into becoming a permanent resident. That was the case for Dan and Deb Guetschow who had visited the area many times in the past, but last year decided to dock their sailboat and bought a home in Southport.

Captain Bert Felton has been hosting organized tours of historic Southport for years via his boat, "Solomon T," but the Guetschow opened a new tour business, using a tram to take visitors around the town, calling it Southport Fun Tours.

"My wife found a cottage and I had to find something to do," explained Dan. "And I said this community could use a thing like this, an overview of the area with a little bit of history and nature because there are so many wonderful things in the area. This looked like the perfect thing, so I got together with Cindy Brochure and we put it together."

Dan said he's found many people are coming to Southport this year, after seeing the Nicholas Sparks movie Safe Haven which was filmed around town last summer.

"It is amazing what Safe Haven has done here, even as they were filming here, the crew, the actors and actresses and directors kept in mind the community. And what they were doing and did not overstep their boundaries."

Brochure said that 90% of the people visiting Southport this summer are requesting both relocation and vacation information for the area and mention they've seen Safe Haven.

"It is a perk that we did not expect and have benefited greatly from it," said Brochure.

Of course, Southport has been no stranger to other movie and television productions, but it is the Nicholas Sparks movie that is bringing more visitors to Southport.

As more productions are filmed here, the exposure of Southport will continue to reach new people, and bring them to this part of North Carolina, an area filled with southern small town charm, friendliness, and a peaceful atmosphere that we have always enjoyed, long before the film cameras ever arrived.

Southport Fun Tours departs daily from the Visitors Center, at the Southport City Hall.

Most recently, production crews for the CBS series Under The Dome have filmed several of their episodes in the Southport area.

Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved.

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