Visit North Carolina and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina recently announced results gathered as part of the 2016 Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina counties. According to the study, visitor spending in Stokes County is up by 3.3 percent over the previous year. Spending by visitors to Stokes County in 2016 generated just over $24 million, an increase of $77,000, in monies spent during travels to Stokes County visiting local businesses, destinations, accommodations, and attractions.
“The local tax dollars collected from visitors are revenue that the county would not have if not for the local businesses and supporters who assist with county efforts to promote the area,” said Economic Development Tech Analyst, Tory Mabe. “This also shows us that advertising efforts are helping to bring people to our county to experience the beauty and unique experiences that Stokes County has to offer.”
Hanging Rock State Park Superintendent Robin Riddlebarger reported that in July of 2015, visitation was 83,307 and that number jumped to 102,462 people in 2016, and continues to climb with 111,616 visitors this July.
The newest study goes on to show that in Stokes County, visitor expenditures generated approximately $1 million dollars in local tax receipts in 2016. Local sales tax revenues directly resulting from visitor spending helps to provide each tax paying resident of Stokes County with a tax savings of $47. The findings help to verify information gathered by the tourism office in 2016, from surveys showing more than half those surveyed were first-time visitors to the area. Increases in expenditures also coincide with the increase at Hanging Rock State Park in 2016.
“As a county we are growing our tourism potential by continuing to market the Dan River and Hanging Rock, the Arts, local event venues, attractions, accommodations, restaurants and shops, and events that those staying for multiple days at Hanging Rock or at other local vacation rentals can get out and experience,” Mabe said. “The Hanging Rock Smartphone app is a great resource for those visiting to see complete listings of places to eat and stay and things to do inside our county borders, the app provides the most up-to-date information without having to worry about expired or closed listings. By having this information available it will hopefully help entrepreneurs or business owners see the potential visitation that their business would receive, in return providing yet another thing to add to the growing lists of things to do around the rock in Stokes County.”
Statewide spending by domestic visitors jumped to a record of $22.9 billion in 2016, a 4.4 percent increase from the previous year. A total of 97 of the state’s 100 counties experienced rises in visitor spending last year. Visitor expenditures directly supported 219,094 jobs and generated nearly $5.6 billion in payroll income across North Carolina.
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.