Wilmington, NC:  Governor Roy Cooper announced today that domestic visitors to and within New Hanover County spent a record $612.92 million in 2018, an increase of 6% from 2017. The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“We are pleased to report that tourism spending and direct tourism employment for New Hanover County increased in 2018, representing our eighth consecutive record-breaking year,” states Kim Hufham. “We are further encouraged that New Hanover County Room Occupancy Tax [ROT] collections for fiscal year 2018/2019 also experienced growth. Based on ROT reports for fiscal year July 2018 through June 2019, countywide collections were up 20.39% over prior year, setting a new ROT record for the eighth consecutive year, with over $15.58 million in collections. When tourism revenues are up it not only means more jobs and a better quality of place for our local citizens, it also means more money to fund beach renourishment, the Wilmington Convention Center and other tourism-related projects.”

Tourism impact highlights for 2018:

  • The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 6,470 in New Hanover County. 
  • Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in New Hanover County was $149.14 million.
  • State tax revenue generated in New Hanover County totaled $29.54 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $24.73 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.
  • Travel-generated state and local tax revenues saved each New Hanover County resident an estimated $228.31.

Governor Cooper announced in May that visitors to North Carolina set a record for spending in 2018. The $25.3 billion in total spending represented an increase of 5.6 percent from 2017.

These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2018,” which can be accessed at partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by the U.S. Travel Association.

“The numbers confirm the strength of North Carolina’s tourism industry as an anchor of economic development,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina. “As the No. 6 state in the country for overnight visitation, we can attribute our success to the natural beauty and authenticity that visitors experience, and to a passionate effort to inform and inspire travelers. The money they spend benefits everyone by sustaining jobs and reducing our residents’ tax burden.”

Statewide highlights include:

  • State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 4.7 percent to more than $1.3 billion in 2018.
  • Visitors spend more than $69 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $5.64 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.5 million in state taxes and $2.1 million in local taxes).
  • The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 230,000 North Carolinians.
  • Each North Carolina household saves on average $532 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state. 

The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority d/b/a Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization that stimulates economic development through the promotion of travel and tourism.                           



Connie Nelson
Wilmington CVB
910-341-4030 x120