Last year alone, nearly 53 million people experienced North Carolina’s incredible beauty, from our famous mountains to our incredible coast and our vibrant cities and fascinating towns in between. These destinations included High Point, the Home Furnishings Capital of the World, and a variety of other popular spots throughout High Point’s home of Guilford County.
In 2013, 95 of the state’s 100 counties saw increases in visitor spending, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development. The group’s data show that visitor spending in the state’s three major urban centers — Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake counties — topped $1.2 billion last year.
These numbers prove that you don’t have to be in the mountains or down by the coast to appreciate the value of tourism. Our new Regional Visitors Center here in High Point is a big draw for people visiting Guilford County. These visitors come seeking information about local sites, but a good number also want information about other tourist destinations in the state.
With our central location near four interstate highways and other major roads, High Point is perfectly situated to serve the needs of North Carolina visitors. From here, travelers can reach most of the major attractions in the state in under two hours and, within the Piedmont Triad, in under 30 minutes.
As a result, tourism is positioned to play an increasing role in our city’s economic development, sparking new investments in lodging, restaurants, entertainment, retail and other related businesses. High Point’s southern sophistication and international appeal make it an attractive destination for visitors of all types — from individuals and families on vacations to sports groups holding tournaments or trade organizations gathering for annual meetings.
Guilford County currently employs more than 12,000 people who directly support the tourism industry. Across the state, last year’s record level of visitor spending supported more than 40,000 North Carolina businesses and directly supported nearly 200,000 jobs.
There’s good reason to invest in tourism. For every $1 invested by the state in paid media advertising, North Carolina receives $191 in new visitor spending, $10.31 in new state taxes and $6.25 in new local taxes. This is nearly a 17 to 1 return on investment of tax dollars by the state.
Our state continues to show that it is one of the most sought-after vacation spots in the country. In fact, it is the sixth most-visited state in the U.S., according to recent statistics.
“These statistics are no surprise,” says North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. “In addition to being a great place for a vacation, tourism also often ends up leading visitors to consider moving to our great state. And the 2013 tourism dollars prove that our cultural resources are just as big of a draw as our natural ones.”
For more information about the impact of tourism on North Carolina’s economic development, contact the Department of Commerce’s Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development or visit their website. For more information about High Point’s new Regional Visitors Center, call us at 336-884-5255 or feel free to drop by and visit us at 1634 N. Main St. in High Point.