Visit North Carolina announced this week that domestic visitors to Johnston County spent $221.72 million in 2015, an increase of 3.2 percent from 2014.
"Not only did our visitor spending increase in calendar year 2015 as the results of the VisitNC study indicates, the Johnston County Visitors Bureau continues to invest in tourism development projects. Last year the bureau awarded $70,000 in Capital Grant Projects, as well as, completed the county-wide Parks & Recreation Study, spearheaded the Smithfield Wayfinding Project, and grew the membership of the JoCo Hospitality Association," stated Donna Bailey-Taylor, President/CEO.
A top priority from the above mentioned County-Wide Parks & Recreation Master Plan is to hire a Recreation Director and complete the 14-mile stretch of the Mountains to Sea Trail between Clayton and Smithfield.
Tourism impact highlights for 2015:
• The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 1,770 people in Johnston County.
• Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Johnston County was $34.65 million.
• State tax revenue generated in Johnston County totaled $12.46 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. Approximately $5.55 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.
• If not for the $18.01 million in state and local taxes paid by tourists visiting Johnston County, each of the 60,700 county households would pay $297 more in taxes to replace tax revenue generated by tourism spending.
Gov. Pat McCrory announced in May that visitors to North Carolina set a record for spending in 2015. The $21.96 billion in total spending represented an increase of 3 percent from 2014.
These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2015,” 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.
“All eight economic development regions of the state had spending growth of 2 percent or more, and 91 percent of the state’s counties saw direct tourism employment growth from 2014 to 2015,” said Wit Tuttell, Executive Director of Visit North Carolina. “Tourism continues to be a 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 6.1 percent to top $1.1 billion in 2015.
• Visitors spend more than $60 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds nearly $4.9 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.1 million in state taxes and $1.8 million in local taxes).
• The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 211,000 North Carolinians.
• Each North Carolina household saves $475 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.
The Johnston County Visitors Bureau oversees the marketing efforts for the county to attract and serve visitors, therefore increasing the economic impact for the local economy. The Visitors Bureau is fully funded by the 3 percent hotel room tax paid by overnight visitors to the county. In addition, the Towns of Benson, Kenly, Selma, and Smithfield have a 2% occupancy tax that is managed by the Visitors Bureau and is dedicated to each town's marketing efforts.
If you are interested in learning more the Johnston County Visitors Bureau, visit the website, www.johnstoncountync.org. In addition, visitors and locals to Johnston County alike can always find out what’s happening in the area by visiting www.johnstoncountyevents.com which lists detailed information on festivals, entertainment, and fun happenings in JoCo through out the year.