The Johnston County Visitors Bureau released the 2012 Annual Report which reviews the Visitor Spending Numbers reported by the NC Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development, budget revenues/expenditures, and the highlights of the bureau's year.
The Division of Tourism reported that visitor spending reached $197.66 million in 2012, which was a 3.4 percent increase over 2011. The economy continues to ebb and flow in the tourism industry due to weather related events like Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast, gas prices, dips in the economy, and the influx of new hotels not only in the county but in competitor markets like Wilson, Rocky Mount and Fayetteville.
The upside in Johnston County continues to be the investment in tourism development by hotel operators, which have brought new brand name properties to the county, expansion of our wineries and two additional vineyards planning on producing wines/grape juices in 2014, as well as, two new breweries opening in the county. Deep River Brewing opened in Clayton in May and Double Barley Brewery opened in September. To continue with this theme, the county now has a distillery producing "moonshine" near Benson. Broadslab Distillery has plans to build a tasting room and start giving guided tours.
Additional development includes the new meeting facility that opened in October, The Farm, which is right outside the Town of Selma. The Visitors Bureau will take these new tourism-related businesses and create new marketing strategies such as Beer and BBQ Trails, and group tours to Broadslab. With the new meeting facility, our marketing efforts will now include meeting planner trade shows and advertising.
2012 is behind us, and the future is certainly holding new promises, new opportunities and the Visitors Bureau is poised to be at the table to market, advertise and promote.