Tourism has a way of feeling secondary to other forms of economic development in a community, maybe because it represents a transient group of people or because some equate tourism with vacations, free sightseeing and off-hours entertainment. It tends to not carry the import that it deserves.

But when it comes right down to it, tourism is vital to Wake County’s economy. We, of course, want to offer genuine hospitality and unique and enriching experiences to our visitors, and we’re delighted they have chosen to spend time here. But tourism also represents an indispensable part of Raleigh, N.C.'s financial well-being. (And different from other forms of economic development work—tourism's financial impacts can be felt tomorrow and the next day; in other words, it doesn't take years for the returns on invested resources to become clear.)

In case you missed it...
Visitors to Wake County spend money, to the tune of $2.53 billion in 2017 (that’s billion with a B). That spending generated $250 million in state and tax revenues ($123 million in state tax revenue and $127 million in local tax revenue).

Those are significant numbers and are important to what we do at GRCVB. In fact, economic impact is our cornerstone and is at the heart of our mission statement:

The Greater Raleigh CVB, as the official destination marketing organization of Raleigh and Wake County, accelerates sustainable economic growth and development by increasing visitor and convention business.

That’s a relatively simple sentence but one packed with real-world takeaway for all of us. The promise of GRCVB over its long history is to offer local businesses (area hospitality partners) enhanced exposure to visitor market opportunities, creating opportunities for increased economic impact as generated by arriving visitors. In case that doesn’t resonate, here’s what that process looks like in real life.

A primer for how visitor spending impacts Wake County...

Almost all of the sports, cultural and entertainment benefits that we enjoy in our area are enhanced and available to us through the support and impact of visitors. We might not have a PNC Arena, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and certainly not the Raleigh Convention Center without them.

When you think about it that way, supporting, enhancing and enabling tourism is a win/win/win.

  • Visitors win by being able to experience Raleigh’s enriching and energizing attractions, events and innovative businesses helmed by passionate minds.
  • Residents win because tourism puts money back in their pockets while maintaining and improving the amenities we all enjoy.
  • And the entire community wins because annual sales of $2.53 billion fill the area's cash-register tills, replenish city/county/state tax coffers, indirectly stimulate more supply-chain spending and require local jobs to be filled in a variety of service industries (with payrolls to go along with that).

That is why tourism matters. #tourismmatters