Gov. Bev Perdue announced during the N.C. Governor’s Conference on Hospitality & Tourism that visitors to North Carolina spent a record $17 billion in 2010, an increase of 9 percent from 2009.  The number was higher than the previous record of $16.8 billion set in 2008.  More than 500 tourism, business and government leaders from across the state gathered at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville for the conference.

In addition to visitor spending, Perdue announced North Carolina, which maintained its ranking as the sixth most visited state in the nation, gained nearly 2,000 tourism jobs in 2010 while state tax revenues from visitor spending increased 12.6 percent and have increased 16.2 percent since 2007.  Also, visitor spending directly generated a total of more than $1.5 billion in state and local tax revenues.   State tax revenue totaled more than $947 million and local tax revenues were $546 million as a direct result of visitor spending. Media coverage may be found at www.wral.com/business/story/9267567/

This year, the Division’s annual conference featured dynamic, educational programming and valuable networking opportunities and drew a near-record crowd focused on the theme of finding the “Rhythm of Success.”  In addition to Gov. Bev Perdue’s address, attendees heard from keynote speakers on strategies for success, attended breakout sessions on everything from new marketing technologies to how to deal with TripAdvisor and its ratings, and got the first look at the Division’s co-op advertising and marketing program for the upcoming 2011-12 fiscal year.

The Division partnered with the Asheville CVB and the Grove Park Inn to host eight travel writers and editors on a brief media familiarization tour prior to the Governor's Conference.  Media attendees were invited to explore Asheville “Any way you like it" and experienced many activities like farm-to-table dining, ziplining, hiking and craft brewery tours.  After the press tour, the journalists participated in the Media Roundtable breakout session during the conference where they heard story ideas from tourism partners across the state.

Presentations from the conference will be available next week on the 2011 N.C. Governor’s Conference on Hospitality & Tourism website.