Study: 2018 tourism up in all NC counties despite Florence impact

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People enjoyed a day at the beach on July 23, 2019, in Oak Island. (Photo: Monique Robinson/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hurricane Florence can’t keep North Carolina down.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced that our state saw record visitor spending in 2018 with increases in all 100 counties.

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The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina.

Domestic visitors spent a record $25.3 billion statewide in 2018. That’s an increase of 5.6% from the previous year.

The survey says visitor expenditures directly supported more than 230,000 jobs and generated more than $6.3 billion in payroll income.

Many of our area counties saw a significant increase with Brunswick County in the top 10 statewide at 6.5%.

New Hanover County followed close behind with 6%.

Bladen County was not much farther with 5.7%.

Pender and Columbus counties nearly tied with 4.8% and 4.7% respectively.

“North Carolina’s tourism industry set a new record last year in visitor spending despite the effects of the storms,” Gov. Cooper said in a news statement. “This is a testament to the lasting beauty of our state and the determination of our people.”