2019 Visitor Impact for Catawba County and
throughout the Hickory Metro
Catawba County Spending by Domestic Visitors Increases by 3.3 Percent to $302.79 million
HICKORY N.C. — Domestic visitors to and within Catawba County spent $302.79 million in 2019, an increase of 3.3 percent from 2018. The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnersip of North Carolina.
“Visitor spending was strong in Catawba County in 2019 and we continue to be ranked 16th out of 100 NC counties in economic impact, which shows the importance of tourism and the value it adds to our community,” said CEO of the Hickory Metro Convention Center & Visitors Bureau Mandy Pitts Hildebrand. “Counties ranked 1 - 15 include counties with large cities, counties with professional sporting teams or venues, counties with multiple universities, counties with large airports, or counties that have a natural amenity such as the Atlantic Ocean. Catawba County has a wealth of natural amenties as well as sporting venues and events, a variety of lodging options, authentic and well-known local restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries and we continues to be the premier place to purchase quality furniture crafted by local artisians.”
Tourism impact highlights for 2019 in Catawba County:
- The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 2,510 people in Catawba County.
- Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Catawba was $57.2 million.
- State tax revenue generated in Catawba County totaled $16.48 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $8.96 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.
“Our tourism partners in our neighboring counties of Alexander, Burke and Caldwell counties also saw an increase in visitor spending in 2019,” added Hildebrand. “We work well with our tourism partners in the Hickory Metro and all of us working together is beneficial for all of us as visitors do not see city and county lines. All of us working together leads to a larger inventory of attractions, outdoor events, natural amentities and more.”
Hickory Metro impact highlights for 2019:
- Visitors to and within Alexander County spent $23.22 million, which is an increase of 5.9 percent. More than 130 people are tourism industry employees with a payroll of $3.51 million. State tax revenue generated was $1.28 million and local taxes generated about $960,000.
- Visitors to and within Burke County spent $110.01 million, which is an increase of 2.7 percent. More than 760 people are tourism industry employees with a payroll of $17.02 million. State tax revenue generated was $5.99 million and local taxes generated about $3.09 million.
- Visitors to and within Caldwell County spent $61.19 million, which is an increase of 10.1 percent. More than 380 people are tourism industry employees with a payroll of $9.65 million. State tax revenue generated was $3.31 million and local taxes generated about $1.88 million.
North Carolina impact highlights for 2019:
Visitors to North Carolina set a record for spending in 2019. The $26.7 billion in total spending represented an increase of 5.6 percent from 2018.
These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2019,” which can be accessed at partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by the U.S. Travel Association.
“The numbers confirm the strength of North Carolina’s tourism industry as an anchor of economic development,” said Wit Tuttell, director of Visit North Carolina. “As the No. 6 state in the country for overnight visitation, we can attribute our success to the natural beauty and authenticity that visitors experience, and to a passionate effort to inform and inspire travelers. The money they spend benefits everyone by sustaining jobs and reducing our residents’ tax burden.”
Statewide highlights include:
- State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 5.0 percent to more than $1.3 billion in 2019.
- Visitors spend more than $73 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $5.92 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.7 million in state taxes and $2.2 million in local taxes).
- The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 235,000 North Carolinians.
- Each North Carolina household saves on average $551 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.
“2020 visitor spending numbers will look a lot different than 2019 as the tourism industry is one of the biggest industries crippled by COVID-19,” added Hildebrand. “We are working with our tourism partners on messaging the “new normal” and plan to promote how our visitor amenities have changed practices to adhere by the state and federal guidelines to ensure a safe visit.”
To learn more about Vist NC go to www.VisitNC.com.