FacebookTwitterPinterestYouTubeGoogle PlusInstagram

JCVB Blog

The Johnston County Visitors Bureau BLOG is published weekly with news and feature articles on visiting the county.
Featured

FAMiliarize Yourself with Johnston County

FAMiliarize Yourself with Johnston County

One of the absolute best parts of my job is hosting FAM Trips, or Familiarization Trips, where travel writers, bloggers, social influencers, and journalists visit my destination. The idea of a FAM Trip is that media guests will familiarize themselves with a destination and enjoy the trip so much that travel stories, articles, and social posts will be written and will attract others to visit the destination.

Travel writers are wonderful people who take joy in traveling and are always amazed at everything Johnston County has to offer. But the thing often talked about the most when I do FAM trips, and the thing I get most excited to share about Johnston County, are the wonderful people who live here. There is an entrepreneurial spirit in JoCo only matched by the spirit of collaboration. 

This week's blog will be a photo collection of the fun times had on the recent FAM trip that the Johnston County Visitors Bureau hosted in conjunction with the North American Travel Journalist Association Conference and all our participating tourism partners. 



Thanks to John at Shenanigans for your excellent transportation services from place to place. We couldn't have gotten there without you. 

 

Enjoying an impressive meal on the first night at Manning's in Downtown Clayton, NC.

 

Revival 1869 shaking-up some fun, original cocktails for a post-dinner nightcap. 

 

Taking a tour at Hinnant Vineyards with amazing weather.

 

Lunch catered by Redneck BBQ Lab at Broadslab Distillery. This stop and this lunch in particular was the subject of a lot of conversations the rest of the tour and conference.

 

Taking a group shot with Jeremy Norris and his still at Broadslab Distillery. 

 

Listening to Deep River owner and brewer Paul Auclair talk about his love of craft beer and the many different styles of beer available at Deep River. 

 

Simple Twist and Double Barley pulled out all the stops for the beer-pairing dinner on the last night of the trip. How amazing does this look? You can find it on the Simple Twist menu... the secret ingredient is Double Barley beer. Whoops! Not a secret anymore. 

 

The group wrapped-up their amazing experience with a tour of Gregory Vineyards.

 

Thank you to all the media who visited. I was honored to show you JoCo. Thank you also to all our wonderful partners who make FAM Trips possible and who make bragging about our destination so easy to do! 

 

Continue reading
527 Hits

2015 Visitor Impact Numbers for Johnston County Released

2015 Visitor Impact Numbers for Johnston County Released


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.

Continue reading
825 Hits

Benson Announces Hampton Plans

Benson Announces Hampton Plans

It was announced yesterday in a press conference that Benson is getting a hotel right off of I-95 at Exit 79. The news is being received enthusiastically by the community, in part due to the boost it will bring in economic vitality but also because the town and surrounding area are in need of additional accommodation options. Adam Leath, representing the hotel developer Leath Co LLC, and Benson Mayor William Massengill discussed the project at the press conference before revealing that the hotel would fly under the Hampton Inn flag and also presenting building plans to the public.

Leath spoke to the project as something that the town and the county could be proud of, which Massengill echoed had become something of a measurement for Benson's community projects in the last few years, " we want to ask of ourselves, not simply will this project benefit the town, but will it be something that community leaders and members can be proud of."

If the design and atmosphere of the hotel discussed are anything to go by, it will certainly be a contributing addition to the Benson community and the group of hotels that welcome travelers all over Johnston County. The Hampton Inn in Benson is designed for families, tourists, and corporate travelers alike. The 88-room hotel will deliver an atmosphere for a comfortable work environment and a restful stay - including 8 suites, free Wi-Fi in public areas, free in-room high-speed internet access, a clean and fresh Hampton bed®, Hampton’s free hot breakfast, flat screen televisions, complimentary beverage areas, guest laundry, elevators, a fitness center, and an outdoor heated pool.

 The hotel will also offer accessible and pet-friendly rooms with plans already approved by the NC Department of Transportation to install a free-range dog park directly across from the hotel. In addition the hotel features a 1,000 sq. ft. conference center with the latest audio-visual technology and media equipment.

We here at the Johnston County Visitors Bureau are excited about the added room availability that the Hampton will add to our county and the Benson area. Building the Hampton Inn in Benson means it is located less than 20 minutes from Campbell University, 45 minutes from Raleigh Durham International Airport (RDU), and 25 minutes from the Johnston County Airport. In addition, as readers of this blog know, Benson has been growing its tourism assets this year thanks to the continued growth of Broadslab Distillery and the opening of GALOT Motorsports Park - both located less than 5 miles from the new hotel site. In fact, 2015 statistics show that 19 million new dollars in private investment went into Benson last year.

During the press conference Mayor Massengill spoke to this growth and the hotel announcement as proof that Benson's leaders and citizens are working to develop Benson into an attractive place to live and visit, "this project is proof of what happens when the private sector, government, and non-profits work together." Adam Leath said that the Leath company, " looks forward to the partnership with Benson and providing a service that is needed in the community." The company anticipates breaking ground in November of 2016 and hopes to open to guests in Fall of 2017.

The news to build a Hampton Inn in Benson comes on the heels of the grand opening of the Country Inn & Suites in Smithfield and proves that Johnston County continues to grow as a tourism destination in North Carolina and along the I-95 corridor. The continued development of Johnston County's economic development and tourism assets means better options for travelers and prosperity for community members.

Stay tuned to our Facebook page and the Visit Benson website for updates on this project as they become available.

Continue reading
1550 Hits

Johnston County Celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week

Johnston County Celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week



Starting on Monday, and throughout next week, the Johnston County Visitors Bureau (JCVB) will be participating in several events as part of the 33rd Annual National Travel and Tourism Week (May 1-7), which unites communities each year to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth, and personal well-being.  You will see posts on the JCVB social media about what the travel industry means to America, to North Carolina, to Johnston County, and even to you (yes, you).

According to the US Travel Association, "National Travel and Tourism Week—America's annual salute to travel and tourism—was established by a congressional resolution in 1983. This week of events serves to champion the power of our industry. Travel and tourism professionals from across the nation work throughout the week to promote the impactful contributions their travel markets and organizations make to the US economy."


Celebrating Travel by Encouraging Travel


Each year the JCVB sales teams travels to the NC Welcome Centers at I-95 North and South to interact with visitors showcasing local Johnston County products, hotels, dining and attractions. Talking with visitors as they try locally grown strawberries from Smith's Nursery and Strawberry Farm, or learning about the opening of GALOT Motorsports Park near Benson, the JCVB sales team and industry partners will see more than 700 travelers at the welcome centers on May 5 and 6. Always a treat for visitors is meeting Ray Wheeler from Atkinson's Mill and finding out what a "hush puppy" is, and children love the reptiles brought by Clemmons Educational State Forest in Clayton.  It's a fun day for everyone attending as we showcase all our destinations have to offer.


What Does Travel Mean for Johnston County


Across Johnston County, travel employs a prosperous and diverse workforce, from hotel employees, to restaurant, attraction and retail workers, and supports related sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance.  “Just look at the numbers. Travel supports one in nine American jobs, including more than 1,700 jobs right here in Johnston County,” said Donna Bailey-Taylor, President/CEO, Johnston County Visitors Bureau. “This week, we are celebrating what travel means to our community, and we call on everyone—from elected officials to local residents—to join us in saluting this important industry.”

Here are some of the 2014 tourism impact numbers from the Economic Development Partnership of NC (also known as VisitNC):

•    The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 1,700 people in Johnston County
•    Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Johnston County was $32.24 million
•    State tax revenue generated in Johnston County totaled $11.63 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. Approximately $5.33 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses


What Does Travel Mean for You


"If not for the $16.96 million in state and local taxes paid by tourists visiting Johnston County, each of the 60,700 county households would pay $282 more in taxes to replace the taxes generated by tourism spending," remarked Bailey-Taylor.  "Tourism has a direct impact for all citizens of Johnston County, thanks to the many visitors traveling through the county along interstates 95, 40 and 70 choosing our destinations for accommodations, shopping, dining, meetings, recreation, and visiting area attractions. Johnston County is primarily a leisure destination and our mission at the Visitor Bureau is not only to serve visitors as they travel on to final destinations, but to create and market hotel packages, festivals, trails and special itineraries to encourage weekend leisure trips and for travelers to select our destination over our competitors."  

So how does this all work you might ask. In most cities and counties the tourism authority is granted an operating budget out of the occupancy tax taken when visitors to the area stay at local hotels. In this way, the tourism authority funds itself; not by taking any money from the citizens of the municipality in which it resides but by taking a percentage of the money that it works to bring into the county. The purpose of the Johnston County Visitors Bureau is to advertise outside the county to attract visitors into the county who will pay an occupancy tax that goes to further fund more advertising to bring more visitors into the county - and so on, like a snowball. But those visitors also pay a sales tax when they visit - to purchase things like food, gas, and souvenirs - which helps local government provide services.

In return, when a Johnston County resident travels to another county, state, or country as a tourist, they pay taxes there that fund continued tourism and prosperity in that destination. Travel then, becomes a cyclical act that we all participate in and gain from. Watch the video below, created by the US Travel Association in celebration of this year's National Travel and Tourism Week.


To learn more about National Travel and Tourism Week 2016 visit the US Travel Association site, or please visit our event page online at: www.johnstoncountync.org/NTW.

Continue reading
1120 Hits

Hospitality Training Program, “Hospitality Heroes” Available October 1st

Be A Hospitality Hero in Johnston County!  Over the last several months, the Johnston County Visitors Bureau (JCVB) has partnered with Johnston Community College’s Small Business Center to develop a hospitality training program named “Hospitality Heroes”.  This training course will be FREE to new and existing tourism industry employees in the county and it will be available October 1, 2010.  The tourism industry employees in hotels, restaurants, retail, attractions, festivals/event planners, meeting venues, and transportation services will be eligible for the training.


“Hospitality Heroes has been designed as a FREE online course for tourism industry employees in the county, which we hope will become a regular part of their employee orientation process,” stated Donna Bailey-Taylor, Executive Director, JCVB. “The Visitors Bureau had tried several different ways to provide customer service training to the tourism industry in the past, with guest speakers, staff presentations, and industry specific programs.”

“This new program is much more assessable for the nearly 4,500 full and part-time tourism industry employees in the county.  We owe JCC a wealth of gratitude for their willingness to partner with us”, continued Bailey-Taylor.  “When we called JCC and pitched this idea, they didn’t hesitate at all, and we just couldn’t have done this without Rosa Andrews and the blackboard technical staff at JCC.”

“Hospitality Heroes” will unify Johnston County’s tourism industry by teaching front line employees about tourism, their local destination, and give helpful tips on customer service.  The course will run every month with enrollment at JCC starting on the 1st of each month.  Enrollment is open until the 25th of each month for the next month’s class, and after enrollment employees will have one 30 days to complete the course.

“JCC is very excited to partner with the Johnston County Visitors Bureau to create Hospitality Heroes for use by the tourism industry in Johnston County. This is an example of using the technology and learning tools of our college to meet a need in the community! I have no doubt that the students in this program will enjoy the learning environment and will enrich their work by participating,” stated Rosa Andrews, Director of Small Business Center and Occupational Licensure, Economic and Workforce Development.

The goals of the Hospitality Heroes course include giving new and existing employees a better understanding of the Visitors Bureau and the organization’s role to promote the county.  They will be provided information about Johnston County’s things to do, places to stay, dining, entertainment, recreation, meeting venues, and the many shopping and outlet opportunities which will help them answer visitor questions when approached on the job.  Just having this basic information and knowing the visitors bureau provides marketing materials like the Visitors Guide, Visitor Maps and the website will help front-line employees do their jobs.

For more general information on the tourism industry, employees will be given facts and figures about national, state and local visitor spending, visitor profiles, and many additional resources to tourism organizations’ websites.  The Johnston County Visitors Bureau partners with and belongs to several of these state and national organizations who conduct national research studies to provide the most up-to-date travel trends.

Through a license agreement with “License to Serve”, a program developed through Destination Marketing Association International, employees will learn basic customer service techniques.  The goals of the customer service module are: to promote a more positive public image, improve internal and external professional relationships and networks, establish an environment of optimum customer service, positively differentiate the organization from competition, and increase the number of new customers and retain current customers.

With course completion, employees will receive a Hospitality Heroes certificate, a gift bag from JCVB, vouchers to local attractions within the county, and an invitation to an annual luncheon during National Tourism Week each May, to be recognized by the community as a tourism ambassador.

To get additional information about the Hospitality Heroes program offered by JCVB in partnership with JCC, and how to get your employees enrolled, contact Amanda Astoske at 919.989.8687 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The mission of the Johnston County Convention & Visitors Bureau is marketing our destinations to visitors, thereby, encouraging utilization of accommodations, retail outlets, restaurants, heritage sites, museums, entertainment and recreation venues for the community’s economic benefit.

www.facebook.com/jocovisitorsbureau

www.twitter.com/JoCoTourism

Continue reading
1770 Hits

Beer Wine & Shine Trail

beer wine and shine trail logo

Travel around the county to four award-winning wineries, two breweries and get a taste of brandy along the way!  Receive a Free $30 coupon book when you complete the trail.

Read more...

Meeting Planners

meeting venue with presentation screen

Johnston County offers conveniently located and affordable conference facilities for meetings, reunions, and unique destination weddings sites.  Why not select a historic home or horse farm for your next event?

Read more...

Group Tour Operators

girl with camera in travel group

Groups have discovered exits along I-40 and I-95 for outlet shopping, music theatre, museums and heritage sites.  Call today for custom itinerary planning.

Read more...

Hotel Packages

hotel bed and pillow with johnston county logo

We have created several special hotel packages including a Girlfriends Getaway for outlet shopping, we know you need a break and great deals on shoes!  Click here to book your getaway today.

Read more...

hospitality heroes logo

FREE TRAINING

 

Check out what other travelers say about Johnston County, North Carolina on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor
Go to top