Domestic visitors to and within Ashe County spent $64.92 million in 2019, an increase of 6.9 percent from 2018. The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“Tourism and visitor spending is such a vital piece of our Ashe County economy. Not only do we benefit by a savings in property tax costs, visitor spending also helps keep our small businesses open and residents employed. We have so much beautiful scenery, quaint shops, and cultural treasures — we are thrilled that other people love to visit and boost our economy while they are here,” Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kitty Honeycutt said.

Tourism impact highlights for 2019:

  • The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 450 in Ashe County.
  • Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Ashe County was $10.06 million.
  • State tax revenue generated in Ashe County totaled $3.31 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $3.48 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.

Visitors to North Carolina set a record for spending in 2019. The $26.7 billion in total spending represented an increase of 5.6 percent from 2018.

These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2019,” which can be accessed at partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by the U.S. Travel Association.

“The numbers confirm the strength of North Carolina’s tourism industry as an anchor of economic development,” Visit North Carolina Director Wit Tuttell said. “As the number six state in the country for overnight visitation, we can attribute our success to the natural beauty and authenticity that visitors experience, and to a passionate effort to inform and inspire travelers. The money they spend benefits everyone by sustaining jobs and reducing our residents’ tax burden.”

Statewide highlights include:

  • State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 5.0 percent to more than $1.3 billion in 2019.
  • Visitors spend more than $73 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $5.92 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.7 million in state taxes and $2.2 million in local taxes).
  • The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 235,000 North Carolinians.
  • Each North Carolina household saves on average $551 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.

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