Downtown Chapel Hill

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Tourism Spending up In Orange County

via The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau:

The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau announced today that spending by domestic U.S. travelers totaled $144.07 million in Orange County during 2010.  That equals a 5.7 percent increase over 2009 figures and ranks Orange County 24th out of North Carolina’s 100 counties in travel expenditures. 

These statistics are from the recently released “2010 Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties” study.   The study was prepared for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development by the U.S. Travel Association.  The study provides preliminary 2010 estimates of domestic traveler expenditures in North Carolina including employment, payroll income, and state and local tax revenue directly generated by travel-related expenditures.

“The higher spending was the result of increased same-day and overnight travel to Orange County,” said Laurie Paolicelli, Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau Executive Director. "Overall visitation is up especially from a day trip perspective. The economy has people traveling closer to home so we are targeting the state and VA and focusing on visitors within a 150-mile radius. Based on this, we are seeing more people at special events, seasonal shopping and one-day bus excursions."

 “By and large, the increase is across the board, and comes from lodging, restaurants and bars, retail, entertainment and transportation.  It’s rewarding to see a positive growth trend in jobs and payroll at one of the bleakest times in our economy's history," adds Paolicelli. 

State and local tax revenues from travel to Orange County amounted to $11.37 million in 2010.  This includes $8.45 million from the state and $2.92 million from the county.  This represents a nearly $85 tax saving to each county resident.  Some 1,610 jobs in Orange County were directly attributable to travel and tourism last year. “This makes the hospitality industry the fourth largest employer in Orange County,” said Paolicelli.  Also, according to the study, travel generated a $27.17 million payroll in the county. Visitor spending infuses non-resident tax dollars into the local economy and generates sales tax revenues that are returned to the community to fund services. 

Across North Carolina, domestic visitors spent $17 billion in 2010.

The mission of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau is to develop and coordinate visitor services in Orange County and to implement marketing programs that will enhance the economic activity and quality of life in the community.  The Visitors Bureau is fully funded by hotel occupancy taxes paid by visitors.