Mission accomplished

Published 12:29 pm Sunday, August 16, 2009

By Staff
Despite a recession that began more than a year ago and has resulted in a significant increase in the national, state and local unemployment rates, tourism-related spending in Beaufort County increased from 2007 to 2008.
It wasn’t as big as some of the other year-to-year increases in the past four years, but it was enough to make Lynn Lewis, Washington’s tourism-development director, “very pleased.” Although visitor spending increased just 2.23 percent from 2007 to 2008, it continued a run of yearly increases that began in 2002.
The economic impact from tourism in Beaufort County in 2008 was $66.42 million, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce. State and local tax revenues from travel to Beaufort County came to $7.48 million in 2008, according to an analysis of tourism spending in the state.
That’s a tax savings of $160.52 for each county resident, according to the state. In other words, if county residents provided that $7.48 million instead of visitors, that $160.52 figure would be each resident’s share.
At least 450 jobs in the county in 2008 were directly attributable to travel and tourism, the analysis shows, with those jobs generating a payroll of $9.1 million in 2008.
Seven straight years of increased visitor spending in Beaufort County shows without a doubt that Lewis, the Washington Tourism Development Authority and other entities that promote tourism in the county, are doing that job and doing it well.
With the Washington Tourism Development Authority preparing to implement some consultant-recommended strategies to attract even more people to the area in the coming months, Lewis expects tourism figures for 2009 — when they come out next August — to show an increase over 2008’s figures.
Based on the authority’s record in the past seven years, we expect nothing less.
Good work speaks for itself. The authority’s work is speaking loud, clear and well.