WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Over 500 professionals in the tourism industry from across North Carolina descended on Wilmington for the 2019 Visit North Carolina 365 Conference. The event is taking place at the Wilmington Convention Center from March 31-April 2.
The event is being hosted by Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau. Last time they hosted this event was in 2013.
“Our campaign is called first at last. And what we found is that we need to showcase what is district and unique about North Carolina, what separates us from out competitors. I think that’s what does it. It talks about the great firsts that you can have in NC,” says Wit Tuttell, executive director, Visit North Carolina.
According to Wilmington and Beaches, 46 million people visited North Carolina in 2017, making it the sixth most visited state. Tourism generated record visitor spending of $23.97 billion, or $66 million per day. Daily contributions to state and local tax coffers averaged $5.4 million. New Hanover generated $578.2 million, which is an increase of 4.3 percent since 2016. Visitor spending generated $51.6 million in local and state tax revenues, up $2.2 million from 2016.
“We’ve had so much growth here especially in our Northern river front area. Were seeing so many changes down in our beach areas so again its just to grow and get the word out," says Kim Hufham, president and CEO of Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We’re just such a great destination, we’re not just about the river and we’re not just about the beaches. We’re a true destination, there’s something for everyone year round. We have a beautiful historic city, as well. We have our river district, our riverfront area and those are implemented by our three beach communities.”
The tourism industry-supported employment topped 225,000 jobs to set another record for the state. New Hanover County created 6,300 jobs in 2017.
This conference offers educational sessions and addresses about tourism by state and local industry. The event also held keynote speakers and breakout sessions.