Tourist spending climbs in county|Despite recession, 2.23 percent growth occurred in 2008
Published 12:22 pm Sunday, August 16, 2009
By By MIKE VOSS
Domestic tourism in Beaufort County generated an economic impact of $66.42 million in 2008, a 2.23 percent increase over 2007, according to a statewide study.
That $66.42 million placed the county 47th in travel impact among North Carolinas 100 counties, the ranking the county held in 2007 and 2006. Last year marked the seventh year in a row the countys tourism-related revenues exceeded the $50 million mark.
The 2.23 percent increase from 2007 to 2008 is the lowest increase from year to year since 2003, when the increase was 0.44 percent. In 1990, the countys economic impact from tourism was $26.64 million.
Im very pleased, said Lynn Lewis, Washingtons tourism-development director, about the 2008 tourism-related numbers. Lewis said she had some concerns about how the onset of the poor economy in 2008 would affect tourism in the area.
Weve had such a great run for the past few years seeing an increase each year, Lewis said.
So far this year, despite a lousy economy, tourism in the area seems to be doing well, she said.
We are seeing things building steadily, Lewis said. The number of visitors to the Visitor Center is up from last year.
In the coming months, the Washington Tourism Development Authority will implement some strategies suggested by a tourism consultant earlier this year to attract more people to the city and county, she said.
When the numbers for 2009 come in, we should see improvement, Lewis said.
According to the Division of Tourism, a branch of the N.C. Department of Commerce, more than 450 jobs in Beaufort County were directly attributable to travel and tourism in 2008. Travel and tourism generated a payroll of $9.11 million in 2008, up from $8.79 million in 2007, according to Division of Tourism data.
In 2008, state and local tax revenues from travel and tourism in the county came to $7.48 million. That represents a $160.52 tax saving to each county resident, according to the Division of Tourism. In 2007, state and local tax revenues from travel and tourism in the county came to $7.24 million.
Domestic tourism spending in the state reached 16.9 billion in 2008, a 2.1 percent increase over 2007, when domestic tourism reached $16.5 billion.
The 2008 Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties was prepared for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development by the Travel Industry Association of America.
City officials have said tourism remains one of the top three economic engines in the county, coming in behind the countys medical community and ahead of light manufacturing.
On Wednesday, Gov. Beverly Perdue announced that 62 counties experienced increases in visitor spending last year, including 16 counties with increases of more than 5 percent.
Visitor expenditures directly generated 190,500 jobs and nearly $4.2 billion in payroll income within North Carolina in 2008, according to a press release from Perdues office. Payroll increased 3.9 percent from 2007 to 2008. Visitor spending in the state also directly generated close to $2.7 billion in tax revenue for federal, state and local governments in 2008, up 3.6 percent from 2007.
We know that current economic conditions are affecting businesses all across the state, including those in the tourism industry, Perdue said. But this continued economic growth, and especially growth in tax revenues, is encouraging.
in other counties?
Tourism-related spending in Hyde, Martin and Washington counties also increased from 2007 to 2008.
Tourism in Hyde County generated $28.11 million in revenue in 2008, a 3 percent increase when compared to 2007, according to the statewide study. Hyde Countys tourism-related revenues came in at $27.29 million in 2007, a 4.11 percent decrease when compared to 2006. Five years ago was the first time the county surpassed the $25-million mark in visitor spending.
Last year, Hyde County ranked 73rd among the states 100 counties in travel impact. In 2007, it was ranked 72nd.
In 2008, more than 370 jobs in Hyde County were directly attributable to travel and tourism, which generated a $5.74 million payroll in 2008. State and local tax revenues from travel to Hyde County amounted to $2.91 million in 2008.
In 2007, about 370 jobs in Hyde County were directly attributable to travel and tourism, which generated a $5.50 million payroll in 2007. State and local tax revenues from travel to Hyde County amounted to $2.8 million in 2007.
In Washington County, domestic tourism brought in $13.28 million in tourism-related revenues in 2008, an increase of 3.51 percent over 2007. The county took in $12.83 million in tourism-related revenues in 2007, an increase of 6.47 percent over 2006.
The county ranked 89th among the states 100 counties in travel impact in 2008, the same ranking it had in 2007.
More than 100 jobs in Washington County were directly attributable to travel and tourism in 2008. State and local tax revenues from travel to Washington County amounted to $1.30 million in 2008. Travel generated a $1.87 million payroll there in 2008.
About 100 jobs in Washington County were directly attributable to travel and tourism in 2007. State and local tax revenues from travel to Washington County amounted to $1.35 million. Travel generated a $1.78 million payroll in the county in 2007.
Tourism in Martin County generated $28.28 million in tourism-related revenues in 2008, an increase of 3.82 percent over 2007. In 2007, tourism in Martin County generated $27.24 million in economic impact, a 2.64 percent increase over 2006.
The county ranked 72nd among North Carolinas 100 counties in travel impact in 2008. It ranked 73rd in 2007.
Travel generated a $4.47 million payroll in 2008 in Martin County. State and local tax revenues from travel to Martin County amounted to $2.24 million, according to the Division of Tourism. More than 250 jobs in the county were directly attributable to travel and tourism in 2008.
Travel generated a $4.25 million payroll in 2007 in Martin County. State and local tax revenues from travel to Martin County amounted to $2.14 million, according to the Division of Tourism. About 250 jobs in Martin County were directly attributable to travel and tourism in 2007.