Dare County saw record-breaking visitor spending last year

Beachgoers enjoying a few peaks of sun Wednesday morning off Kitty Hawk before showers and storms start arriving from the south on July 8, 2020. [Sam Walker photo]
Dare County tourism expanded by 6.7% in 2019, setting a new record for direct visitor spending of $1.27 billion dollars and surpassing the statewide average growth rate of 5.6%, the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau reports.
According to a study released Tuesday by VisitNC, a division of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Dare County visitor spending last year generated $116.5 million dollars in state and local taxes and employed more than one in three county residents.
“The tax revenue produced by visitors to the Outer Banks equated to almost $3,147 in tax relief for each Dare County resident,” said Lee Nettles, Executive Director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. “That’s what each person would have to pay annually out of pocket in order to maintain our current level of public services if there were no tourism industry. “While we’re happy to celebrate these positive numbers with our local tourism partners and the Dare County community, we recognize that 2020 has presented some extraordinary hardships for OBX families.”
Last September, Hurricane Dorian made landfall at Cape Hatteras, leaving Ocracoke under water and other parts of the Outer Banks damaged. Then came the pandemic earlier this year.
“Each year highlights the collective resiliency of our community and brings out the best of what we offer to guests from around the world,” Nettles said. “We’re confident that the travel and tourism industry will bounce back and we can continue to celebrate the people and places that make the Outer Banks special.”
To explore the report further on your own and see how each county in the state performed, click here.