Wilmington, NC: Domestic and international visitors to and within New Hanover County spent more than $1 billion ($1,059.42 million) in 2022, which represents an increase of 13.9 percent from 2021 spending. New Hanover County maintains its rank as 7th in visitor spending among North Carolina’s 100 counties. Tourism employment in New Hanover County increased to 6,676 in 2022, up from 6,142 in 2021. The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“We are excited to report that visitor spending in New Hanover County exceeded the $1 billion mark in 2022, setting a new benchmark. This increase in visitor spending is a welcome sign that tourism in our destination continues to grow,” states Kim Hufham, president/CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority. “During calendar year 2022, countywide room occupancy tax collections totaled more than $23.4 million dollars, an increase of 10.67% over the previous ROT benchmark set in 2021. Our community benefits from visitor spending through job creation and a room tax base that helps fund beach renourishment, the Wilmington Convention Center, ocean safety programs and other tourism-related projects. Additionally, travel-generated state and local tax revenues help offset the tax burden of local citizens.”

Travel and tourism is vital to the economic success of New Hanover County, especially in terms of jobs, small businesses, growth and quality of place.

Tourism impact highlights for 2022:

  • Domestic visitors to and within New Hanover County spent an estimated $1,059.42 million in 2022, which represents an increase of 13.9 percent from 2021 spending, setting a new record.
  • The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 6,676 people in New Hanover County.
  • Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in New Hanover County was $276.6 million.
  • State tax revenue generated in New Hanover County totaled $35.9 million through state sales and excise taxes and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $38.9 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 $317.76.

These statistics come from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2022,” which can be accessed here. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association.

Statewide, visitor spending in 2022 rose 15.2 percent to reach a record $33.3 billion. Direct tourism employment increased 9.8 percent to 216,900.

“North Carolina’s tourism industry draws its success from the authentic culture and experiences that flourish across a spectrum of settings,” said Wit Tuttell, Visit NC’s executive director. “The new report from Tourism Economics shows growth beyond our celebrated mountains and beaches to our urban centers and surrounding suburban and rural counties. Tourism’s strength across the state underscores the industry’s role as an anchor of economic development. The money visitors spend benefits everyone by sustaining jobs and reducing the tax burden for every resident.”

The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority (TDA), d/b/a Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau, markets and develops the county and its communities’ leisure and group travel experiences for economic growth and quality of place.


Connie Nelson
Communications/Public Relations Director
Wilmington and Beaches CVB
910-341-4030 x120