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Gaston County Sees Increase in Visitor Spending for 2019

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. – It appears that 2019 was a good year for travel and tourism in Gaston County. Visitors spent more than $291 million last year, an increase of 5.55 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.

“We appreciate our dedicated local tourism partners, along with their employees, and the amazing recreational experiences they continue to produce throughout Gaston County,” said Michael Applegate, director of Gaston County Travel and Tourism. “It’s because of them, and the many visitors who come to enjoy what they’ve created, that we can celebrate the fantastic numbers we saw in 2019.”

Tourism impact highlights for 2019:

  • The travel and tourism industry directly employs about two thousand people in Gaston County.
  • Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Gaston County was $49.14 million.
  • State tax revenue generated in Gaston County totaled $16.48 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $4.79 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 with a whopping $26.7 billion in total spending, which 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 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,” said Wit Tuttell, director of Visit North Carolina. “As the No. 6 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 employees 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. Each resident in Gaston County saves about $95.49 in local taxes.