Raleigh, NC – Two nationally respected travel and travel research organizations have released 2011 numbers in terms of total visitation and visitor spending in Wake County. D.K. Shifflet and Associates calculated a record 11.63 million travelers visited Wake County in 2011 while the United States Travel Association (USTA) shows those visitors contributed more than $1.7 billion into the local economy.

According to D.K. Shifflet and Associates, the number of visitors to Wake County is 11.63 million with a current breakdown of 74.1% leisure and 25.9% business and an even further breakdown 45% daytrip visitors and 55% overnight visitors.

“It was an outstanding year for tourism in Wake County and we are pleased to announce record growth in both leisure and business travel,” said Denny Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our convention sales, marketing and sports marketing teams continue aggressive marketing efforts in all visitor segments which has a direct effect on these impressive numbers.”

Visitor spending in the Capital City area generated more than $129 million in state ($83.54 million) and local ($46.27 million) tax receipts last year, according to USTA. Equally important to note, visitor tax revenues actually save resident taxes, as visitor tax receipts also are used for education, school construction, water, sewer and other necessities. If these tax revenues were not generated by visitors, the local taxpayers would need to provide the same revenue if the current level of service and amenities in Wake County were to be maintained.

In 2011 tax revenues from visitor spending saved Wake County households $256.60 in state taxes and $142.10 in local taxes for a total of $398.70 savings.

In 2011 a record 19,000 people were employed in the hospitality industry in Wake County representing an estimated $521 million in payroll income. More than 200,000 jobs throughout North Carolina are attributed to tourism.

The word “visitor” represents more than just tourists. In addition to leisure visitors, it includes business travelers, convention delegates, day-trippers, families on weekend getaways, and people visiting the area for specific reasons ranging from shopping and dining to cultural and sporting events.

These economic statistics are from the “2011 Economic Impact Of Travel On North Carolina Counties.” The study was prepared for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development by the U.S. Travel Association. The visitation statistics are from a study prepared for the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau by D.K. Shifflet and Associates.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, as the official destination marketing organization of Raleigh and Wake County, accelerates sustainable economic growth and development by increasing visitor and convention business. Through its website, www.visitRaleigh.com and other tools, the GRCVB assists local visitors in a variety of ways.