There are good reasons to plan a trip during National Travel and Tourism Week, this Saturday, May 3 through Sunday, May 11. It’s good for you!
According to a study released in April, travel has a positive effect on relationships, health, education and more, while not taking vacation time lowers productivity and the economy. Yet, last year more than forty percent of American workers who received paid time off did not take all of it despite the obvious personal benefits. According to An Assessment of Paid Time Off in the U.S., commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association and completed by Oxford Economics, Americans did not take an average of 3.2 paid time off days, totaling 429 million unused days for U.S. workers.
Established by a Congressional joint resolution in 1983, National Travel and Tourism Week was first celebrated in 1984. Locally, the High Point CVB will recognize Tourism Day, Wednesday, May 7 by representing High Point at the I-77 Welcome Center in Dobson to champion the power of travel.
Tourists – visitors from at least 50 miles away – can be viewed as temporary taxpayers, according to Steve Morse, director of the Hospitality & Tourism Program at Western Carolina University College of Business. Tourism helps to pay for schools, streets, sidewalks, fire and police protection.
In North Carolina, travel and tourism play a big role in the state’s economy:
- Domestic and international travelers to North Carolina spent $20.1 billion in 2012 and generated $3 billion to federal, state and local governments, dollars that help fund jobs and public programs such as police, firefighters, teachers, road projects and convention centers.
- The 202,000 jobs created by travelers to North Carolina in 2012 represent 6.3 percent of the state’s total employment.
- Without these jobs generated by domestic and international travel, North Carolina’s 2012 unemployment rate of 9.2 percent would have been 13.5 percent of the labor force.
- For every $1 million spent in North Carolina by domestic and international travelers, 10 jobs are created.
High Point has a deep appreciation for the value of tourism. Twice each year, 75,000 visitors from around the globe converge on the Home Furnishings Capital of the World to view and purchase the newest trends in home furnishings. In addition, High Point is home to more than 40 retail furniture stores and outlets, including the largest furniture store in the world, Furnitureland South. Consumers shopping for furniture often spend several days here, exploring the city’s furniture options.
The economic impact of tourism is much more than merely the dollars a visitor spends on lodging, attractions, food, services and products. Tourism-related businesses buy goods and services to meet the needs of visitors, all directly impacting residents in the form of sales taxes and wages. It supports businesses that would not otherwise exist. It creates economic diversification, an insurance policy against hard times or declines in traditional industry. It shifts the tax burden from property owners to consumer sales taxes. Sustainable tourism can ensure that the environment, heritage and inherent character of a city are preserved. It can stimulate new and improved transportation systems, the opportunity to benefit from new ideas and cultures, and the possibility of new residents, as has happened with many furniture market guests.
Starting May 3, during National Tourism Week, the High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau wants to thank our local hospitality workers, businesses, and especially our visitors.
Be sure to hit the road this weekend and through May 11 to celebrate the power of tourism! Learn more about National Travel and Tourism Week happenings on Twitter by following @USTravel, @TravelEffect and @TravelCoalition.