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Tourism Hits New Economic Heights In Raleigh PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Donna Martinez   
Thursday, 16 August 2018 09:04


Raleigh, N.C.(July 18, 2018) – Figures released today by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh) show that Wake County welcomed 16.45 million visitors in 2017, an increase of 5.3 percent over 2016. Those visitors who traveled to Wake County spent $2.5 billion locally, an increase of 4.0 percent over 2016. Both figures are all-time records. The organization independently contracted with three nationally respected travel and tourism research organizations, DK Shifflet, Tourism Economics and STR, Inc., to estimate these and other key tourism statistics.

Visitors to Wake County generated more than $250 million in state and local tax revenues last year. By generating these revenues, area visitation saved each Wake County household $671. Tourism-generated tax receipts are used for education, school construction, water, sewer and other necessities as well as quality-of-life amenities for residents. If these tax revenues were not generated by visitors, local taxpayers would need to provide the same funding if the current level of service and amenities in Wake County were to be maintained.

According to the research, tourism continues to be one of the largest employment sectors in Wake County supporting 26,170 full time jobs with a payroll of $739.5 million. Tourism employment in Wake County has grown 31.6 percent since 2009, outpacing the county average for growth over that timeframe of 27.3 percent. In fact, the tourism industry in Wake County has added nearly 800 jobs per year since 2009.

“The latest data demonstrates that Wake County continues to be a premier tourism destination for meetings, sporting events and leisure visitation in the Southeast and that tourism plays an important role in impacting the economy county-wide,” said Dennis Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh).

Wake County set several records across key hotel and restaurant performance indicators as well throughout 2017, including a 1.8 percent year-over-year increase in area hotels' average daily rate (to $102.90). Lodging tax collections totaled $25.1 million, up 3.6 percent year-over-year, and prepared food and beverage collections rose 5.3 percent in 2017, amounting to a record $28.3 million.

The county hotel occupancy of 69.1 percent outpaced the state average of 63.4 percent and the national average of 65.9 percent in 2017. Wake County experienced a 2.8 percent increase in hotel availability and with that still had an increase of 1.3 percent in rooms sold.


KPI/Statistic (Wake County)



% changeor

Visitor Economy Impact Figures




Total Number of Visitors

16.45 M

15.62 M


Visitor Spending Generated

$2.53 B

$2.43 B


Employment Figures




Local Employment Directly Supported by Tourism




Labor Income Paid

$739.5 M

$715.3 M


Tax Collections




State & Local Tax Revenue Generation
(From Visitors)

$250 M

$242 M


Lodging Tax Collections

$25.14 M

$24.27 M


Prepared Food and Beverage Tax Collections

$28.33 M

$26.91 M


Hotel Performance Data




Hotel Occupancy




Hotel Average Daily Rate (ADR)




Total Rooms Available




Hotel Room Supply
(Total Number of Room-Nights Available)

5.91 M

5.75 M


Hotel Room Nights Sold
(Number of Room-Nights Sold)

4.09 M

4.03 M



“Even with the current state of the tourism economy being as bright as it has ever been, now is not time to sit back and declare success,” said Edwards. “We must commit to strategic, sustainable development of the assets needed to attract visitors in today’s everchanging landscape. This is why we are proud to be unveiling Wake County’s new Destination Strategic Plan, which we’re calling ‘Destination 2028’ at our annual meetingon August 16. This 10-year strategic plan will help our stakeholders and elected officials make sound decisions on what new and enhanced tourism infrastructure we need to invest in over the next 10 years based on research, and what will give us the best ROI.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2018 09:07
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