The North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development has announced domestic visitors to Surry County spent $110.66 million in 2013, an increase of 3.4 percent from 2012.
“Tourism generates substantial economic benefits in Mount Airy and Surry County as visitors come and stay overnight in our lodging facilities, shop while they are visiting, buy gas and leave a positive effect on several industries in the county,” said Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center Director of Tourism and Marketing Jessica Icenhour Roberts.
“The tourism industry is vital to our local economy because the industry brings in those necessary outside dollars to be spent in Surry County and also creates tourism tax relief, saving each household around $238. Tourism Tax relief is a result of taxes generated by tourist spending. The goal of our local tourism efforts in Surry County and Mount Airy is to bring in more visitors annually who will spend more money and stay longer in our region.”
Roberts listed tourism impact highlights for 2013, which included the travel and tourism industry directly employing more than 780 people in Surry County. She reports total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Surry County as $15.53 million for that year.
The report indicates state tax revenue generated in Surry County totaled $6 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. Approximately $2.3 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses. Overall, 95 counties saw increases in visitor spending from 2012 to 2013. According to the study, forty percent of North Carolina counties had more than $100 million in visitor spending in 2013.
The study indicates while the average length of stay of North Carolina overnight visitors has decreased the last several years, overnight visitor volume increased nearly 8 percent in 2013, indicating a trend of more frequent shorter stays in the state. Daily average spending by these visitors has also increased.
Roberts said the study provides preliminary 2013 estimates of domestic traveler expenditures in North Carolina, as well as the employment, payroll income, state and local tax revenues directly generated by these expenditures. The statistical model is run by the Research Department of the U.S. Travel Association based on highly detailed North Carolina data that the Division provides to them and a variety of other government and proprietary sources.
Gov. Pat McCrory announced in May visitors to North Carolina spent a record $20.2 billion in 2013, an increase of 4.1 percent from 2013.
The statistics shared by Roberts and the Division are from the “2013 Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties.” Statewide highlights included state tax receipts, as a result of visitor spending, passing the $1 billion mark in 2013. This figure represents a 4 percent growth over 2012's $970 million.
The study indicates visitors spend more than $55 million per day in North Carolina, adding more than $4.4 million per day to state and local tax revenues — about $2.8 million in state taxes and $1.6 million in local taxes. According to the report, the travel and tourism industry directly employees nearly 200,000 North Carolinians.