Counties across North Carolina see increases in visitor spending

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Leland Town Hall(Mark Steelman | The Town of Leland)
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 5:02 PM EDT

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The latest study from Visit North Carolina found that visitor spending has increased in all 100 counties between 2020 and 2021, but some counties saw bigger increases than others.

Per Visit NC, the statistics were determined using the visitor activity model in conjunction with a tourism satellite account. Statistics like taxes paid, business sales, household income, state of employment and myriad others are used to determine the economic contributions of visitors in particular.

In 2021, Brunswick and New Hanover counties ranked sixth and seventh for total visitor spending with $975 million and $930 million respectively. Though New Hanover County had a bigger rebound from 2020: 55.6 percent compared to 33 percent increase for Brunswick. As for the other local counties’ visitor spending, Pender had $165 million, Columbus had $61 million and Bladen had $57 million.

“We are extremely pleased to see another record year in visitor spending,” said Pender County Tourism Director Tammy Proctor in a press release. “Last year Pender County was one of only 14 counties statewide to see an increase in visitor spending. To see another significant increase only demonstrates how important the tourism industry is to Pender County’s economy.”

Statewide, the counties with the highest visitor spending were Mecklenburg ($4.1 billion), Buncombe ($2.6 billion) and Wake ($2.3 billion.) Though a rebound in 2021 was expected following 2020, 75 out of 100 counties had higher visitor spending than they did in 2019.

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