2018 County Spending by Domestic Visitors Increases by 7.1%

Governor Roy Cooper announced this week that in 2018 domestic visitors to Johnston County spent $256.02 million, which is an increase of 7.1% from 2017 data.  These findings are prepared by the US Travel Association and commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“Johnston County is very fortunate to be the site of the largest manufacturing project in the world -- the $2 billion Novo Nordisk project in Clayton.  The spending impact of this project and the new Hampton Inn hotel opening in Benson in 2018 were tremendous tourism drivers for our county. Along with the impact of Hurricane Florence last fall, our occupancy tax collections were up 20 percent in 2018,” stated Donna Bailey-Taylor, President/CEO of the Johnston County Visitors Bureau.

When reporting these numbers to the community, making them relatable to our industry partners, elected officials and residents is important to the Visitors Bureau, which recently launched the “Tourism Does That” monthly newsletter. 

So, what does 7.1% tourism growth mean for the county:

  • Visitors to Johnston County spend $701,425 a day in local businesses such as retail and outlet shopping, hotels, attractions, dining, and travel services.
  • $14.23m state tax and $6.47m local tax receipts directly helps build schools in Johnston County, and reduces the tax burden to every household in the county.
  • Growth of tourism jobs in Johnston County increased by 3.1 percent in 2018; the county ranked 2nd highest jobs increase in the state. **
  • Room tax collection paid by visitors is the sole source of operating funds for the Visitors Bureau’s marketing campaigns, no local county taxes fund the bureau.
  • In 2018, $198,090 in room tax was invested back into tourism development projects such as recreation facilities, museums, historic preservation, and performing arts and community meeting venues.

**(the VisitNC report excludes retail outlet spending, sales tax, and jobs at Carolina Premium Outlets as the research is not customized for Johnston County)

"The Power of Travel" graphic is provided by the U.S. Travel Association and depicts how the trickle-down economic benefits of tourism effect even non-tourism-related industries and all local residents.

The Power of Travel Graphic

In May of this year, Governor Cooper announced record spending of $25.3 billion by visitors to North Carolina, representing an increase of 5.6 percent from 2017. “The numbers confirm the strength of North Carolina’s tourism industry as an anchor of economic development,” said Wit Tuttell, executive 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.”

To learn more about tourism in Johnston County, the Visitors Bureau provides additional information on www.johnstoncountync.org/about.