The overall economic impact of tourism on New Hanover County totaled $400.88 million from domestic travel in 2010, said Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau President/CEO Kim Hufham. Of that, professional and trade associations typically account for almost one third of an area’s travel and tourism dollars, said Association Executives of North Carolina CEO Jim Thompson.
The exact dollar amount North Carolina associations generate on meetings and room nights in Wilmington is difficult to track since area hotels do not report to the Convention & Visitors Bureau on groups booked.
“N.C. associations use not only the convention center but various hotels and meeting space throughout the county, and we do not have a mechanism of reporting,” said Hufham.
Due to the size of N.C. association meetings, they typically meet at the larger Wilmington area hotels that offer bigger conference rooms like Wrightsville Beach’s Holiday Inn and Blockade Runner during off season for better rates, and the downtown Wilmington Hilton Riverside and Best Western. Best Western director of sales Lynda Ballard said the hotel hosts 20 to 30 groups a year.
New Hanover County ranks number nine out of North Carolina’s 100 counties for tourism expenditures. Hufham said the $37.31 million in state and local tax receipts that came in through tourism to the area in 2010 resulted in each New Hanover County resident saving $183.40 on annual taxes.
Date posted: February 22, 2012
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