Governor Pat McCrory was at the Outer Banks today to celebrate "Tourism Week" in North Carolina and to discuss the newest tourism statistics from the U.S. Travel Association.
The state's tourism industry broke records with the amount of visitor spending taken up in 2013.
"It came as no surprise to me when I learned that North Carolina is the sixth-most visited state in the country," said Governor McCrory. "We have the most beautiful and varied landscapes, with travel destinations lining the way from the mountains to the coast. [N.C. Commerce] Secretary Sharon Decker, [N.C. Cultural Resources] Secretary Susan Kluttz and I are committed to promoting the tourism industry. Not only is it a boon for our rural economies, providing thousands of jobs, it also draws international attention to the state and its abundance of historical and environmental resources."
Tourism Week in North Carolina is part of National Travel & Tourism Week, which also runs May 3-11. Find a copy of the proclamation here.
Secretary Decker presented the tourism findings in Concord yesterday at the hotel and waterpark Great Wolf Lodge, arriving in a race car and full race suit. Secretary Kluttz delivered the news and presented the proclamation at Bennett Place, where the Civil War essentially ended with the largest Confederate surrender, in Durham on Wednesday as well.
For every $1 invested by the Commerce Department's Division of Tourism in paid media advertising, North Carolina receives $191 in new visitor spending, $10.31 in new state taxes and $6.25 in new local taxes. The Department of Cultural Resources houses 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation's first state-supported Symphony orchestra, the State Archives, the State Library, the NC Arts Council and other tourism-driven sites and organizations.
The governor lauded tourism efforts at the Outer Banks such as the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island and its new Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center, which opens over Memorial Day weekend. The STAR Center will allow visitors to watch volunteers and staff feed and treat turtles and learn more about the threatened species.
He also brought attention to the regular ferry service to Cape Lookout National Seashore, which is available for visitors looking to climb the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, see wild horses on Shackleford Banks or camp on the barrier island beaches.
Aside from state-owned resources, more than 40,000 businesses in North Carolina directly provide products and services to travelers, with travelers directly contributing more than 25 percent to their total products and services. Visitors to North Carolina generated more than $3 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2013. State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending passed the $1 billion mark in 2013, 4 percent higher than 2012's $970 million.