Coronavirus could impact the Cape Fear’s tourism industry

Updated: Mar. 11, 2020 at 5:48 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Governor Roy Cooper and State health officials are advising high-risk groups to avoid mass travel.

Travel restrictions are in place in several other countries because of the coronavirus, leading some to question if the same could happen here in North Carolina.

President and CEO of Wilmington & Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau Kim Hufham has asked all tourism partners to report any cancellations or implications related to the coronavirus.

Some events like the Cape Fear Museum Experience STEM-ILM 2.0 has been canceled.

“We are starting to hear talks of the possibility of some meetings or events being canceled, but we don’t define in the books yet but we are still hearing about that. We do know over at the Battleship North Carolina, they have had school groups cancel for the rest of the year, which affects their visitation so things are starting to happen,” she said.

Peak tourism season is right around the corner in the Cape Fear, and with many canceling plans, it could impact the tourism industry.

“We feel like yes, that if it continues on and people don’t travel and feel like they need to stay home, and there are some groups they are encouraged to stay home and not travel it definitely will affect our restaurants, our retail, our hotels, gas sales, all those types of things,” Hufham said.

On the other hand, Wilmington may be a more attractive location for many who have canceled travel plans that require travel by plane.

“We are a drive destination, so the majority of our visitors do drive in and I feel like they feel a little more safe in the confines of their cars versus a plane or some type of public transportation,” Hufham said.

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