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Posted on: August 26, 2022

Visitor Spending in Gaston County Rebounding After COVID-19 Pandemic

Woman walking with a suitcase

BELMONT, N.C. -- Domestic and international visitors to and within Gaston County spent $289.16 Million in 2021, an increase of 43.5 percent from 2020. The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. 

"It's gratifying to see the resolve of our hospitality partners as shown through this bounce-back in visitor spending to nearly 2019 levels, our historic high," said Gaston County Tourism Development Director Michael Applegate, CDME. "Though we're fortunate to represent a county with so many enjoyable attractions, it's the experiences that our local tourism-related entities and their teams create that keep visitors motivated to explore Gaston County year in and year out." 

Tourism Impact Highlights for 2021

    The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 2,000 people in Gaston County.

    Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Gaston County was $73.4M.

    State tax revenue generated in Gaston County totaled $13.1M through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $8.5M in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.

These statistics come from the "Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2021." The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association. 

Statewide, visitor spending in 2021 rebounded by 44.9 percent to reach $28.9 billion. Following the dramatic pandemic-related losses of 2020, the total fell just short of the record $29 .22 spent in 2019. Direct tourism employment increased 10.5 percent to 197,500. 

"These findings are something that everyone in North Carolina can celebrate," said Visit NC Director Wit Tuttell. "They're a testament to the resilience of our businesses and our residents and to the enduring appeal of destinations that include everything a traveler might want. The economic well-being of the state and all its communities rises with the pleasures travelers find in the natural beauty of our public spaces, our culinary traditions and innovation, our remarkable towns, and our spirited cities. North Carolina can claim it all." 

Statewide Highlights for 2021

    Total spending by domestic and international visitors in North Carolina reached $28.9B in 2021.That sum represents a 44.9 percent increase over 2020 expenditures. The figure falls 1 percent below the record $29.22B spent in 2019.

    Domestic travelers spent a record $28.6B in 2021. Spending was up 45.2 percent from $19.7B in 2020. 

    International travelers spent $337M in 2021, up 25.6 percent from the previous year.

    Visitors to North Carolina generated $3.9B in federal, state and local taxes in 2021. The total represents a 29 percent increase from 2020.

    State tax receipts from visitor spending rose 34 percent to nearly $1.2B in 2021. 

    Local tax receipts grew 26 percent to $1.1B.

    Direct tourism employment in North Carolina increased 10.5 percent to 197,500.

    Direct tourism payroll increased 18.9 percent to $7.7B.

    Visitors spent more than $79M per day in North Carolina. That spending added $6.4M per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.3M in state taxes and $3.1M in local taxes).

    Each North Carolina household saved $580 on average in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state. Savings per capita averaged $222.

    North Carolina hosted nearly 45 million visitors in 2021.

A breakdown of key data can be found here: /DocumentCenter/View/2898



Michael Applegate, CDME


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