Visitor spending increases by 5.2% in Beaufort County

Published 4:26 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Last year, visitor spending increased by 5.2% (or $134.52 million) in Beaufort County, according to an annual study prepared for Tourism NC by Tourism Economics. 

The report, conducted by Tourism Economics in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, gives preliminary estimated domestic and international visitor expenditures as well as employment, payroll income, and state and local tax revenues directly generated by these expenditures, according to Visit NC.  

It shows visitors in Beaufort County spent $31.65 million in lodging (including second homes), $42.74 million in food and beverage, $18.66 million in recreation, $10.86 million in retail and $30.61 in transportation (ground and air). It also shows there were 702 people in Beaufort County employed in a tourism related job which is about 0.3% of statewide tourism related employment. Their employment created $26.6 million in labor income for an average annual salary of $37,000. 

Washington Tourism Development Director Paula Stephenson said in a previous article for the Daily News that she plans to market the city as a destination place for future and returning visitors who are looking to enjoy the Pamlico River, learn about local history and dine on local cuisine. 

Per Visit NC, “Visitors spend more than $91 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $6.7 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.5 million in state taxes and $3.2 million in local taxes).” This means each household in the state saved $512 on average in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state. Savings per capita was $230. State and local tax savings per resident in Beaufort County amounted to $243.13 million, last year. 

A rise in spending in Beaufort County helped North Carolina set a new record in the amount of money domestic and international visitors spent in the state, a whopping $33.3 billion. The last record was set in 2019 at $29.22 billion. Domestic travelers accounted for $32.4 billion and international travelers accounted for $910 million. 

“‘As we celebrate a record $33.3 billion in visitor spending statewide, we’re pleased that counties that rely on business travel as well as leisure trips are doing well,’” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders in a press release from Visit NC. “‘Tourism has long been one of North Carolina’s most vital industries, and we can take pride in the hospitality and authentic experiences that appeal to the needs and interests of millions of visitors who come to our state each year.’”

Statewide travel across North Carolina continues to increase from 2020 when the state’s tourism plummeted by 32%. The rise of visitor spending in Beaufort County accounts for 0.4% of all visitor spending in North Carolina, according to Visit NC. 

Neighboring Pitt County saw a total of $290.97 million in visitor spending whereas Craven County saw $170.68 million and Hyde County saw $58.31 million. 

“‘Tourism is more than an essential industry for the state,” said Visit NC’s Wit Tuttell in a press release. “‘It’s an economic development force in all 100 of our counties, the places where travelers experience our scenic beauty and adventure, our cuisine and unique culture, our history and the dynamic forces that create our enduring appeal. Our visitor spending reports underscore the value of these assets in terms of jobs and tax revenues that relieve some of the burden on residents. We look forward to continued success in welcoming people to experience places they won’t find anywhere else.’”