Wilson tourism spending tops $126 million in 2018

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Tourism is big business, with revenue breaking records in 2018 in North Carolina and in Wilson County.

“There’s a lot of competition for travelers’ time and money,” said Visit North Carolina Executive Director Wit Tuttell. “But people come to North Carolina when they know about the state’s natural beauty, our residents’ welcoming spirit and the irresistible mix of tradition and innovation.”

Revenue from tourism increased 5.6% from 2017 to $25.3 billion in 2018 for the state — a growth that was mirrored locally.

“The revenue for Wilson County was up 5.6% with expenditures for 2018 at an all-time record of $126.26 million,” said Sandra Homes, executive director of the Wilson Visitors Center. “The additional spending can be attributed to the wonderful attractions that Wilson County has to offer. Everyone has worked so hard to make their attraction the finest in addition to the many wonderful restaurants, gardens, retail and more.”

Tourism has been on the rise in Wilson County in recent years with a roughly 40% increase in visitor spending in the last decade and an additional $5.51 million in tourism payroll growth. From 2008 to 2018, the tax savings for Wilsonians also has increased from $87.16 to $119.59 per resident with an additional $2.58 million in state tax receipts and $690,000 in local tax receipts.

The U.S. Travel Association compiled the figures for Visit North Carolina. According to the research, tourism supported 230,000 jobs — a record for the state — with an annual 5.3% increase in payroll income to $6.3 billion in 2018. Officials said visitors spent more than $69 million per day in North Carolina last year and contributed about $5.6 million per day in tax revenue.

“North Carolina’s tourism industry set a new record last year in visitor spending despite the effects of the storm,” said Gov. Roy Cooper, referring to Hurricane Florence. “This is a testament to the lasting beauty of our state and the determination of the people.”

Homes said the new tourism campaign that launched in October has been extremely successful and is expected to have a tremendous impact on visitor spending and tax revenue when the 2019 results are released next summer.

Visit https://wilson-nc.com/ for more information about activities and events throughout Wilson County.