08/30/04 — Travel spending rises in Wayne County

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Travel spending rises in Wayne County

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on August 30, 2004 1:58 PM

Travelers to Wayne County pumped $98.1 million into the local economy last year, according to the U.S. Travel Data Center.

This was a 2.1 percent increase over 2002.

"I think any increase is good, especially in this economy," said Marlise Taylor, director of the Goldsboro Travel and Tourism Department.

The report includes anything people spend money on when traveling to the county from other parts of the United States. Items include lodging, food, entertainment, gas, recreation, shopping and others, said Ms. Taylor.

Travel spending in the county grew 9 percent from 2001 to 2002. "We are continuing to grow, which is very positive," she said.

Last year, Wayne County ranked 28th in travel spending among the state's 100 counties. The county ranked 27th in 2002. Many of those ahead of Wayne are resort areas, she said.

About 980 jobs in Wayne County last year were directly attributable to travel and tourism, and the industry generated a $16.3 million payroll last year.

State and local tax revenues from travel to Wayne County in 2003 amounted to $7.9 million, which helps the local revenue coffers, said Ms. Taylor. If these tax revenues were not generated by visitors, the local taxpayers would need to provide the revenue to maintain those services, she said.

The N.C. Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development released the 2003 tourism economic numbers, which indicate that tourism continues to be big business in the state.

Domestic travelers spent $12.6 billion across the state. Traveler spending generated $683 million in state tax revenue and $418 million in local tax revenue in the state.

Ms. Taylor said that continuing to promote leisure activities in Wayne County will cause more people to visit.