2018-2019 Annual Report

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau's Annual Report updates you on the Bureau's progress toward increasing the area’s visitor and convention business. Review 2018-2019 progress reports here for sales, services, marketing and communications, public relations and international tourism, sports marketing and administration and marketing technology. Review the Bureau's business plan online for a summary of strategies and objectives for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Letter from Chair Sandi Macdonald

As fully detailed within the pages of this Annual Report, the Greater Raleigh CVB’s efforts—combined with all of yours—introduced 16.8 million new faces to Wake County’s communities in calendar year 2018.

While mostly coming here for getaways or vacations, visiting their friends or relatives and attending our visitor-friendly events and festivals, they also arrived for conferences, conventions and sports tournaments as well as for business meetings to strike new deals or make investments and for personal real-estate shopping, if they looked to relocate fully to our fast-growing region. Despite their different reasons for visiting, all of them contributed direct visitor spending to our local economy, which generates more tax revenues and sustains local jobs (in hospitality fields and other industries).

Tourism matters to the Raleigh area, due to the $2.7 billion that visitors contributed directly with their 2018 spending—but also due to the many, other human connections made when visitors spent time last year in Wake County. No doubt most of our visitors had a chance to encounter at least one of the modern cultural experiences and creative products or environments that our entrepreneurial locals have created here—whether food, event, museum, music or sports-related. Being enriched by their encounters with us and our area’s brand will pay off for many years to come.

The 2018 Wake County visitation figures are higher than ever (visitation up 4.8 percent and visitor spending up 7.2 percent over 2017 figures).

Likewise, according to our research, Wake County’s travel and tourism industries are also supporting more local families and generating more local tax revenues than ever before. In 2018, total tax revenues generated by Raleigh area tourism reached an all-time high of $522 million; this includes $268 million received at the state/local levels, which translates into a reduction of the average Wake County household’s tax burden by $700. Additionally, the 27,101 local workers who directly serve our visitors brought home a record $785 million in payroll last year.

In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, Wake County’s lodging and prepared food and beverage taxes (Interlocal Fund) similarly grew, totaling $60.3 million in record collections. In addition to the portion of the Interlocal Fund reinvested by our CVB into destination sales and marketing, these proceeds help pay for amenities and renovated venues/facilities that draw area day-trippers and overnight visitors, while also being enjoyed by the people in our own communities.

During my term as chair of the CVB Board of Directors, Bureau leadership and staff worked diligently to finalize Wake County’s first-ever, 10-year Destination Strategic Plan, then to develop implementation strategies for Destination 2028 that should go into effect in year one (2019-2020) and subsequent years. By 2028, we are envisioned to welcome more than 21.7 million visitors annually, and the CVB’s Board of Directors and staff still need your daily support—including your engagement in various new programs and working groups—to make that a reality.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank these key stakeholders—Wake County Board of Commissioners, Raleigh City Council, Centennial Authority, Raleigh Convention Center, Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance Advisory Board, all area town officials, all local hospitality businesses as well as the Destination 2028 Blue Ribbon Task Force—for their strengthened support of the CVB’s important mission during the 10 years ahead.

Greater Raleigh CVB president and CEO Denny Edwards and his staff should again be applauded for another year of stellar destination marketing and management in 2018-2019. Please review the many accomplishments of our award-winning CVB and its talented professionals on the following Annual Report pages.

Warm regards,

Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors
President & CEO, North Carolina Symphony