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Tourism spending up 6½ percent in Henderson County

Downtown Hendersonville helped attract tourists in 2016. PHOTO BY SAM DEAN Downtown Hendersonville helped attract tourists in 2016. PHOTO BY SAM DEAN

Visitors in Henderson County spent $274.6 million in 2016, an increase of 6.5 percent over 2015, Visit North Carolina announced on Wednesday.

“Tourism is one of the top economic drivers in Henderson County bringing visitors from over thirty-nine countries from around the world and all fifty states to experience our local heritage, agritourism, culture, recreation, dining and shopping, and other attractions,” Beth Carden,  Executive Director of the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority said in a statement.

Tourism impact highlights for 2016:
• Henderson County was among the top 10 counties, out of 100, in percentage of growth in 2016.
• The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 2,320 in Henderson County.
• Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Henderson County was $50.33M.
• State tax revenue generated in Henderson County totaled $12.57M through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $11.73M in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced in May that visitors to North Carolina set a record for spending in 2016. The $22.9 billion in total spending represented an increase of 4.4 percent from 2015.
These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2016,” which can be accessed at The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by the U.S. Travel Association.
“All eight economic development regions of the state had spending growth of 3 percent or more, and 96 percent of the state’s counties saw direct tourism employment growth from 2015 to 2016,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina. “Tourism continues to be major driver of economic development across North Carolina, which is the sixth most-visited state in the country.”
Statewide highlights include:
• State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 5.1 percent to nearly $1.2 billion in 2016.
• Visitors spend more than $62 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds more than $5.1 million
per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.2 million in state taxes and $1.9 million in local taxes).
• The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 219,000 North Carolinians.
• Each North Carolina household saves $497 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.