2021-2022 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 2021-2022 progress reports here for sales, destination services, marketing and communications, public relations and international tourism, sports marketing and administration and destination technology, plus see a summarized report on Destination Strategic Plan work for the 2021-2022 fiscal year here.
This year we have also produced a Wake County Visitation Data Supplement with our partners at Arrivalist, a geo-location and ad measurement tool for destinations. You can view the report here or at the button below.
Letter from Chair Mike Smith
Dear Partner in Wake County Hospitality and Tourism,
At the hybrid Greater Raleigh CVB Annual Meeting in Aug. 2021, I noted that brighter days were on the horizon for Wake County tourism, but I also asked for our stakeholders’ continued support and participation in the rebuild and recovery for the county’s tourism industries. Thanks to our partners’ dedication during the past year and to additional support for the Bureau’s mission from Wake County Government, area tourism has begun to thrive again post-pandemic.
Since Jan. 2022 especially, Wake County’s hospitality-related tax revenues (and business sales to area visitors) have steadily risen, setting new records in May 2022 (the latest data); occupancy tax collections then represented the best May on record, while prepared food and beverage tax collections then represented the best month ever on record.
The final three months of 2021 were the busiest in terms of overnight visits and day-trips to our area, and we concluded the year with Wake County’s lodging industry sales at 71.5% of their 2019 level and Wake County’s food/beverage sales to visitors recovering 91.4% relative to their 2019 high. A portion from both tax receipts funds the work of our CVB in attracting new visitors for the subsequent year.
All told in calendar year 2021, Raleigh/Wake County attracted 15.8 million visitors who contributed $2.3 billion in spending to our economy here. Their visitor spending generated $118 million in state tax revenue and $125 million in local tax revenue (including the rising interlocal tax revenues above). By generating $243 million in state/local tax revenues, 2021 visitation saved each Wake County household $592.
The travel recovery in 2021 also brought the return of many local jobs in the hospitality fields, after 38% of these had been lost in 2020. Wake County tourism employment rose to 76% of its 2019 level and currently sustains 21,357 people earning a combined payroll of $689 million—labor income made possible by area visitors.
In a second fiscal year affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Raleigh CVB’s professional staff have worked harder than ever to aggressively sell and market Wake County, to let the world know we’re open for business and that it’s time to jump back into travel in all its forms (sports events, meetings/conventions, other business and leisure visits). Their successes in achieving the Bureau’s goals for the past year are spelled out through the remainder of this report.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to specially 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 direct involvement in and commitment to achieving Wake County tourism’s comeback from this global pandemic.
Please review the full 2021-2022 accomplishments of GRCVB on the ensuing Annual Report pages.
MIKE SMITH, Chair
Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors
President, Kane Realty Corporation