Archived Story

Domestic tourism spending up slightly in county

Published 5:11pm Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Domestic tourism in Beaufort County during 2012 brought in $71.06 million, a 1.02-percent increase over the previous year, according to a study prepared for the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development.

In 2011, the county realized $70.36 million from domestic tourism, according to the study, The Economic Impact of Travel On North Carolina Counties. The study was prepared for the division by the U.S. Travel Association.

In 2012, Beaufort County ranked 47th in travel impact among the state’s 100 counties. The county ranked 46th in 2011.

“We are keeping in line with the statewide trend as far as the increase in revenues from tourism,” said Lynn Lewis, Washington’s tourism-development director. “2011 was a record year across the state, and I believe that all 100 counties experienced an increase in their (tourism) revenues and visitor spending. This past year wasn’t the same, but we are holding true with the state trends. We have seen an upswing in day trips, people traveling to our area. It’s important to note the state figures aren’t just occupancy-tax collection. They have a very intricate, detailed formula for how they determine the number of jobs and the amount of spending per visitor. We are starting to see our numbers come back up. So, we are starting to see an increase from when things took a turn in ’08 and ’09.”

Beckie Sipprell, who owns the Moss House Bed & Breakfast in Washington with her husband Scott, said the inn experienced a drop in guests during 2009 and 2010, citing the Great Recession as the cause of the decline. Guest numbers appear to have improved since those years, she noted.

“I would say we’ve been sort of building some over this lasts while. … It’s hard to answer because I think it’s gone back and forth, but I think our numbers have increased this year,” Sipprell said about the number of guests the inn has been hosting in recent years. “In 2013, we’ve increased from 2012. I think we increased from 2011. It may not be a huge jump, but hopefully we’re on a trend.”

More than 430 jobs in Beaufort County in 2012 were directly attributable to travel and tourism, according to the study. The year before, 440 jobs were directly attributable to tourism and travel, according to the 2011 study.

In Beaufort County during 2012, travel generated an $8.88 million payroll, compared to an $8.85 million payroll in 2011, according to the study.

Local and state taxes generated by travel in Beaufort County came to $7.59 million in2012, representing a tax savings of $158.45 for each county resident, according to the 2012 study. In 2011, those local and state taxes came to $7.8 million, representing a tax savings of $163.55 for each county resident, according to the 2011 study.

From 2010 to 2011, domestic tourism’s impact on Beaufort County’s economy increased 5.07 percent, from $66.97 million in 2010 to $70.36 million in 2011, according to previous studies. Except for a 3.7-percent drop from 2008 to 2009, Beaufort County has seen increases in domestic tourism’s impact on the county’s economy since at least 2002. The largest increase from one year to the next year came in 2005, when the economic impact of domestic tourism jumped 11.97 percent over the impact in 2004.

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