2019-2020 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 2019-2020 progress reports here for sales, destination 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 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Letter from Chair Dan Freeland

Dear Partner in Wake County Hospitality and Tourism,

As fully detailed within the pages of this Annual Report, the Greater Raleigh CVB’s efforts—combined with all of yours—introduced 17.9 million new faces to Wake County’s communities in calendar year 2019.

Across their many different reasons for visiting (including family getaways, attending meetings/conventions and participating in sports tournaments), those visitors contributed $2.9 billion in new spending to our local economy—spending which generates greater tax revenues and sustains local jobs (in hospitality fields and in other industries).

Tourism matters to the Raleigh area, not only because of the new dollars being spent but also due to other human connections made when visitors spend time in Wake County. From where we sit in Aug. 2020, we have to believe that memories made here last year are being revisited in their minds’ eyes, and we hope that their recent encounters with us and our area’s brand can help call them back once they’re ready to travel again.

The 2019 Wake County visitation figures were higher than ever (visitation up 6% and visitor spending up 7.5% over 2018 figures). However, we know that figures from 2020, when tallied, will tell a very different story of our area tourism economy, resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Many local businesses, both in hospitality and in its supply chain, are hurting; their employees, and the great number of unemployed locally, are struggling to make ends meet. The CVB and hospitality community must work tirelessly toward a post-COVID recovery so that we can again see tourism support 28,000+ Wake County workers who directly interact with visitors as well as support their own families.

In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, Wake County’s lodging and prepared food and beverage taxes (Interlocal Fund) totaled $51.8 million in collections. In addition to the portion of the Interlocal Fund reinvested by our CVB into destination sales and marketing, these proceeds help shore up amenities, venues and facilities that draw day-trippers and overnight visitors, while also being enjoyed by the residents in our own communities.

This past year, Bureau leadership and staff made great strides in implementing recommendations contained in Wake County’s 10-year Destination Strategic Plan. While work toward a COVID recovery will require other resources, skillsets and a new kind of determination, the team isn’t giving up on reaching the plan’s aggressive goals or on achieving many additional implementation steps in 2020-2021 (officially year two). But the CVB’s Board of Directors and staff still need your daily encouragement—and your engagement in various programs and working groups—to make that happen.

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 belief in the importance of GRCVB’s mission, especially now.

Please review the full 2019-2020 accomplishments of our CVB and its talented professionals on the ensuing Annual Report pages.

Stay safe and stay well,

Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors
Regional Vice President of Operations, Concord Hospitality