Wilmington, N.C.: During May 1-7, communities around the United States with economies that are impacted by travel and tourism will observe National Travel & Tourism Week with activities that engage visitors, local travel partners, and the business community. Now in its 33rd year, National Travel & Tourism Week is an annual salute to travel and tourism in America. New Hanover County travel partners will participate in this nationwide week of events to champion the power of travel and celebrate the contributions that tourism makes to the economy.

This year’s National Travel & Tourism Week theme is “Travel ‘16”. During this important election year, communities and organizations will rally for Travel & Tourism. At national, state and local levels, travel and tourism affects our economy, businesses and individual citizens and families. The goal of National Travel & Tourism Week is to demonstrate that travel is one of America’s largest industries and employers.

The Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) coordinates the local observance of National Travel & Tourism Week by engaging travel partners, visitors, local businesses and elected officials with activities and visual tools. At their April 18 meeting, New Hanover County Commissioners signed a Proclamation to designate May 1-7, 2016 as National Travel & Tourism Week in New Hanover County. Related activities during May 1-7 include:

  • On Monday, May 2nd the CVB will host its 3rd annual Travel Rally Breakfast to kick-start the busy tourist season and celebrate with the hospitality industry and local elected officials.
  • Visitor Information Centers in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, and Wrightsville Beach will display “Welcome! Thanks for Visiting” banners and desk posters, and distribute free postcard souvenirs to visitors during May 1-7. 
  • CVB will provide “Thank You for Visiting” ribbons sporting the hashtag #WilmingtonNC to hotel/attraction staff.
  • “Thank You for Visiting” desk posters will be provided to travel partner businesses to display the week of May 1-7.  Travel is among America’s largest employers. Tourism supports small and large businesses that represent many economic sectors, including: hospitality, retail, food service, sports, arts, entertainment, and transportation, to name only a few. In North Carolina, travel and tourism is among the state’s fastest growing industries. Last year, domestic travelers spent more than $21.3 billion in North Carolina.

Travel is a catalyst that moves our local economy forward and the future looks bright. In New Hanover County, room occupancy tax collections for fiscal year 2014-2015 recorded a fourth consecutive benchmark year. And, according to Visit North Carolina, tourism expenditures in New Hanover County also had another record year in 2014 (most recent data available), with an estimated at $507.9 million in tourism expenditures, ranking it as #8 among North Carolina’s 100 counties. Travel is jobs, providing more than 5,680 jobs in New Hanover County and supporting a payroll of $113.27 million. Travel is a better quality of life for our citizens, generating approximately $49.93 million in state and local tax receipts and representing a $202.45 tax saving to each New Hanover County resident.

“During an election year it is especially important to rally for Travel and Tourism by sharing the economic importance of the industry. Nearly every business in New Hanover County is impacted in some way, either directly or indirectly, by the new dollars that visitors bring into our community,” states Kim Hufham, president/CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority. “These new dollars help build our local tax base and provide a better quality of life for our residents. A portion of the room occupancy tax collections also help to renourish our beaches, fund our convention center, and offset other tourism-related activities such as ocean safety programs.”

For more information about National Travel & Tourism Week, visit the U.S. Travel Association’s website at www.ustravel.org.  The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority d/b/a Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization of New Hanover County which stimulates economic development through the promotion of travel and tourism: www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com.