Destination 2028 Implementation in Fiscal Year 2022–2023
During the 2022-2023 fiscal year (implementation year-four for the Wake County Destination Strategic Plan), GRCVB leadership and staff logged many accomplishments across the eight priorities. A summary of strategic recommendations that were gotten underway or were completed last year follows. The planned implementation of recommendations for the fiscal year ahead also will be summarized in the Destination 2028 subsection of visitRaleigh.com.
Meetings and Conventions Priority
The Request for Interest (RFI) for a minimum-500-room, full-service hotel in downtown Raleigh, which was executed anew last year, moved to a Request for Proposals (RFP) process; proposals have been narrowed to three developer submissions, and the City of Raleigh management team and respective City Council Members will select a finalist and determine a final public funding number to come from the Interlocal Fund tax model.
The Raleigh Convention Center (RCC) future focus for expansion continues to move forward; City and County management teams and their respective elected officials will determine a final public funding number to come from the Interlocal Fund tax model as well as determine the timing of an expansion rollout.
GRCVB successfully launched RCC and countywide future pace reporting. This reporting is sent monthly to area hotel partners, RCC and prospective developers for the tracking and measurement of the bookings associated with the group segment for both RCC and countywide hotels.
PNC Arena design enhancement continues to move forward; City and County management teams and their respective elected officials will determine a final public funding number to come from the Interlocal Fund tax model as well as determine the timing of an enhancement rollout.
After an initial design phase and preliminary pricing for The Center, Cary continues to move forward in advocating to City and County management teams and their respective elected officials for additional funding. Elected leaders will determine a final public funding number to come from the Interlocal Fund tax model as well as determine the timing of a development rollout.
An Esports Production and Performance Center at North Carolina State University continues to move forward through the collaborative work of N.C. State faculty, Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and private-sector industry leaders. A temporary facility is being launched at James B. Hunt Jr. Library, and RFPs have been posted for development of a full-time facility at Mann Hall on State's main campus, with temporary opening in Sept. 2023 and full facility opening by Late 2024.
The Signature Event Development Pilot Program had another successful year of event support, with funding established through the operating budget of the CVB. Two major, signature events received funding in fiscal year 2023: Dreamville Festival, which grew to 100,000 attendees, and Riot Games' League of Legends LCS Spring Finals, held at PNC Arena.
The CVB continues to use a variety of direct economic impact (EI) measurement tools based on a thorough understanding of destination data platforms, consisting of Arrivalist mobile-device measurement, event host partnerships that share ZIP code data from ticket sales analyses and continued use of Tourism Economics' EI calculators via Destinations International for meetings, sports, festivals and cultural events.
Key Attractors Priority
Dorothea Dix Park kicked off construction of Phase 1 around the Gipson Play Plaza, an inviting and inspiring public space for all ages with one-of-a-kind play spaces, works of art, a civic plaza, fountains and gardens. Features include a sensory maze, water play mountain, swing terrace and adventure playground. This will be the primary entrance along the southwest side of Dix Park and take 27 months to complete.
Individual Leisure Priority
In fiscal year 2023, the CVB Marketing and Communications Department's contracted ally People-First Tourism (P1t) Inc. worked with more than 100 entrepreneurs and promoted 47 active growers, creatives and makers offering experiences; an average of three experiences per week were placed on the P1t calendar, part of a redesigned website implementation that promoted timed event experiences as well as anytime "bookables." So far, P1t entrepreneurs have presented experiences in nearly 30 venues around Wake County. Joint advertising and promotional efforts resulted in 1,262 purchases during last fiscal year.
Destination Development Priority
Hotel development continues to remain strong with key openings of properties throughout Wake County and especially in strategic City of Raleigh districts. Some specific pre-development, proposed properties could align well with certain hotel types and key land parcels of municipal master plans.
Regional Demand Drivers Priority
RDU International Airport saw a travel spike in fiscal year 2023 exceeding 2019 by 6%. RDU is the fastest-growing airport in the country based on the year-over-year number of airline seats available to book; there were 190,000 more seats available on RDU flights in July 2023 than there were in July 2022. RDU is now served by 15 airlines flying from 64 nonstop destinations.
Quality of Place Priority
The CVB continued aligning with AWAKE: Cultural Paths, a project that brings the countywide greenways and cultural arts communities into the tourism digital ecosystem through forthcoming activation on the Bandwango platform and visitRaleigh.com. A prototype passport trail will be shared with a variety of Wake County content partners to, in turn, drive visitation to the greenway system from both area residents and area visitors alike.