Outer Banks tourism approaches $2 billion in sustainable growth

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]

The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau is pleased to announce that visitor spending increased 8% last year to an all-time high of $1.97 billion according to new County Level Visitor Expenditures study released by the NC Department of Commerce. Dare County retained its #4 position out of North Carolina’s 100 counties, showing strong demand for Outer Banks travel while reflecting a more sustainable rate of growth compared to tremendous increases felt by the community during Covid.

“The nearly $3,700 in tax relief per local resident emphasizes one of the positive impacts of tourism, as does the employment figure with nearly half of all Dare County jobs happening in the tourism industry,” explains Lee Nettles, Executive Director. “But the Dare County Tourism Board’s work with Long-Range Tourism Management Planning (LRTMP) demonstrates the Board’s commitment to responsible growth, recognizing and managing the negative impacts caused by tourism.” More information concerning that effort can be found at outerbanks.org/LRTMP.

About the Study
The study provides preliminary 2022 estimates of domestic and international traveler expenditures in North Carolina as well as the employment, payroll income, and state and local tax revenues directly generated by these expenditures. The Travel Economic Impact study is conducted by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association. The statistical model is based on highly detailed North Carolina data provided by Visit NC as well as data derived from federal and state government sources, nationally known private and non-profit travel organizations, and other travel industry sources.