2016 Visitor Spending Rises for Jackson County, N.C.

JACKSON COUNTY, N.C. (August 23, 2017) – Visit North Carolina recently announced that domestic visitors to and within Jackson County spent $188.24 million in 2016, an increase of 7 percent from 2015, making it the third largest percentage growth in tourism spending in the state for the last year.

“We are extremely pleased to hear the visitor impact numbers from 2016,” said Nick Breedlove, Director of the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority. “Along with a healthy market last year, I am very proud of the team who contributed to this 7-percent growth in tourism spending. Our Tourism Development Authority, Chambers of Commerce, advertising and public relations agencies, restaurants, accommodation owners and our State Tourism Office (VisitNC) all played a significant role in bringing in visitors and accelerating the growth.”

“The great natural resources of Jackson County’s mountains, hiking, fly fishing and outdoor activities used to be the best kept secret in western North Carolina,” said Dr. Steve Morse, Western Carolina University Professor of Hospitality and Tourism. “With some creative and strategic marketing of the area by Tourism Director Nick Breedlove, more and more people are discovering all the many outdoor activities and cultural events to do in this quiet mountain area. Tourism is vital to the Jackson County economy, and these new economic impact numbers prove how important tourism is to the region. As a result of tourist spending in Jackson County, each of the 26,949 households pay $711 less a year in state and local taxes.”

Tourism impact highlights for 2016:

  • The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 1,800 people in Jackson County. Job growth increased 6 percent throughout 2016.
  • Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Jackson County was $44.84 million. Payroll increased 8 percent throughout 2016.
  • State tax revenue generated in Jackson County totaled $10.54 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $8.63 million in local taxes was generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced in May that visitors to North Carolina set a record for spending in 2016. The $22.9 billion in total spending represented an increase of 4.4 percent from 2015.

These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2016,” 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.

“All eight economic development regions of the state had spending growth of 3 percent or more, and 96 percent of the state’s counties saw direct tourism employment growth from 2015 to 2016,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina. “Tourism continues to be major driver of economic development across North Carolina, which is the sixth most-visited state in the country.”

Statewide highlights include:

  • State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 5.1 percent to nearly $1.2 billion in 2016.
  • Visitors spend more than $62 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds more than $5.1 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.2 million in state taxes and $1.9 million in local taxes).
  • The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 219,000 North Carolinians.

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