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NC and Cumberland County sees increase in tourism spending post pandemic

By Staff Report, posted 1 month ago

In 2021, the North Carolina tourism industry saw a major recovery with $28.9 billion in visitor spending. 

With domestic travel reaching new heights due to limited international travel, this new total falls below one percent of the record set in 2019 and a 45 percent increase from the pandemic in 2020. 

In a press release by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Governor Roy Cooper stated, “We know visitor spending helps fuel our economy in all 100 countries by sustaining local businesses, supporting thousands of jobs and bringing in tax revenue and that’s why we’ve been working to encourage tourism.” 

The state’s tourism-supported workforce increased 10.5 percent with 197,500 jobs in 2021, allowing tourism payroll to increase 19 percent to $7.7 billion. As a result of visitor spending, state and local governments saw rebounds in tax revenues to $2.3 billion.

The research, provided by the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina and  Tourism Economics, also shows that in 2021 domestic visitors spent $28.6 billion. 

Locally, in Cumberland County, in data provided by Visit NC, in 2020 several expenditures brought in a total of $449.85 million dollars to the county. This is a 27.9 percent decrease from 2019 which totaled to be $623.73 million.

As found in the data by Visit NC, lodging brought in $89.77 million, food and beverage services brought in $170.22 million, recreation brought in $48.90 million, retail brought in $40.59, and transportation brought in $100.37 million to Cumberland County in 2020. 

Based on the data provided by Visit NC and the research from the Fayetteville Area and Convention Visitors Bureau, these are the top five functional drivers for visitor spending: shopping, downtown/urban center, military/historic sites, outdoor recreation, and the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.  

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