Record Breaking 15.6 Million Visitors Spent $2.4 Billion. Tourism Industry Supporting More Jobs and Generating More Tax Revenue than Ever Before

Raleigh, N.C. (July 17, 2017) - Wake County's tourism industry welcomed 15.6 million visitors in 2016, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2015. The 15.6 million visitors who traveled to Wake County spent $2.4 billion, an increase of 4.2 percent over 2015. Both the number of visitors and the visitor spending figure are the highest that the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau has ever reported.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) independently contracted with two nationally respected travel and tourism research organizations, D.K. Shifflet & Associates and Tourism Economics, to estimate key tourism statistics.

Tourism to the capital city area generated more than $242 million in state and local tax revenues last year. By generating these revenues, area visitation saved each Wake County household $663. Tourism-generated tax receipts are used for education, school construction, water, sewer and other necessities as well as quality-of-life amenities for residents. If these tax revenues were not generated by visitors, local taxpayers would need to provide the same funding if the current level of service and amenities in Wake County were to be maintained.

Wake County set records across all key performance indicators throughout 2016, including an average hotel occupancy rate of 70.1 percent (a slight year-over-year increase of 0.2 percent), as well as a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase in area hotels' average daily rate (to $100.85). Lodging tax collections totaled $24.2 million, up 8.4 percent year-over-year, and prepared food and beverage collections rose 6.5 percent in 2016, amounting to $26.9 million.

"These numbers show that despite growing competition in the marketplace, Raleigh and Wake County continue to rise as a destination of choice amongst visitors," said Denny Edwards, president and CEO of the GRCVB. "Tourism is a growing economic driver in the community and the "visitor economy" as we call it continues to thrive and support more jobs and generate more local tax revenue than ever before. Every sector of the hospitality community from our hotels and restaurants, attractions and retail stores benefit from the influx of outside money being spent in our area by visitors annually."

Edwards added, "I'm proud of the strategic marketing and public relations campaigns as well aggressive meetings, conventions, youth and amateur sporting events and leisure sales initiatives of the GRCVB. With continued drive and focus, along with a collaborative approach amongst the public and private sector, I believe we can continue to grow the visitor economy creating even more jobs and increasing the quality of life for all Wake County residents and visitors alike for years to come."

Tourism continues to be one of the largest employment sectors in Wake County with above-average job growth and $715.3 million in labor income paid to local hospitality sector employees in 2016 as a result of area visitation. In 2016, 25,535 local jobs were sustained directly by visitation to the Raleigh area.

More information on the numbers released today by the GRCVB, check out our Tourism Talk Blog. For an overview of the facts and figures in the report, click here.

About the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau (GRCVB)
The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau (GRCVB), as the official destination marketing organization of Raleigh and Wake County, accelerates sustainable economic growth and development by increasing visitor and convention business. Raleigh, N.C./Wake County welcomes more than 15 million visitors annually whose spending tops $2.4 billion. The visitor economy supports more than 25,500 local jobs in Wake County and generates more than $242 million in state and local tax revenues, saving each Wake County household $663 in taxes annually.