08/19/11 — Revenue from Wayne tourism increased

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Revenue from Wayne tourism increased

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on August 19, 2011 1:46 PM

Wayne County's tourism growth was nearly on par with the entire state's growth in 2010, as last year saw an 8.44 percent increase in revenue from 2009.

North Carolina attracted $17 billion in expenditures from visitors to and within the state -- an increase of 9 percent, according to a press release from the governor's office.

Director of Travel and Tourism Betsy Rosemann said Wayne County's share of that was $126.5 million, up from $113 million the previous year, and said much of it had to do with the return of corporate travelers.

"Corporate travelers are back again," she said. "We're up again this year, too. We're filling up during the weekend, again."

Mrs. Rosemann said sporting events, like swim meets, baseball tournaments and events at Busco Beach, had also largely contributed, as well as Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

"Our hotels are steadily filling five to six nights a week versus four to five," she said. "Goldsboro, as well as Mount Olive hotels."

She said international travelers have also boosted North Carolina's tourism revenues, with visitors from Asia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, even recounting one instance when someone from the U.K. visited Wayne County just to try some barbecue.

Still, she attributed much of the rise to gas prices.

"When gas prices came up people started exploring more in their own backyard," she said, noting Goldsboro's location near Washington, D.C., Richmond, Va., and Atlanta, Ga. "We're positioned well for visitation."

The study of economic impact showed Wayne County as ranked 27th out of 100 counties in expenditures. Johnston County is ranked 23rd and Wilson 38th.