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In spite of tough economy, North Carolina tourism is up statewide


Tourism in North Carolina is up all over the state – to the tune of 18-billion dollars in spending last year. 

That’s according to a new report out from the Department of Commerce.  And, as WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, some local counties landed high on the list of most-visited places in the state. 

New Hanover and Brunswick Counties ranked 9th and 10th -- respectively -- out of 100 counties in North Carolina for bringing in tourism dollars. 

Lynn Minges, Assistant Secretary for the state’s Department of Tourism, says there are a couple of key factors that kept business booming.   As the economy slowed down, people stayed closer to home. 

“So we pulled in our marketing just a bit and really focused on keeping North Carolinians in-state and attracting visitors from nearby states.  And that really worked well for us.” 

Another critical element, says Minges, is that North Carolina is such an affordable destination. 

“There are all kinds of things to see and do in the state that don’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money.  And that, I think, made North Carolina, and counties all across North Carolina, pretty attractive even in tough economic times.” 

Domestic tourism in New Hanover generated more than 425 million dollars last year.   Brunswick County raked in more than 418 million dollars thanks to travelers.   While news for Pender County tourism was also positive – up nearly five percent last year -- the county placed 45th out of 100 statewide. 

As a whole, North Carolina is sixth in the nation for tourism – behind California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania.