Governor Roy Cooper announced recently that in 2021 domestic visitors to Johnston County spent $255.47 million, which is an increase of 40.5% from 2020 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 has seen a return of leisure travel along our interstates 95 and 40, and we remain fortunate that our location in North Carolina benefits our hotel properties. We continue to face the challenges of supply chain issues, high gas prices, and workforce shortages, however, our industry is resilient and strives to provide the product and services our visitors expect,” stated Donna Bailey-Taylor, President/CEO of the Johnston County Visitors Bureau.

The Power of Travel Graphic from the US Travel PowerPoint

So, what does 40.5% tourism growth mean for the county:

  • Visitors to Johnston County spend $699,918 a day in local businesses such as hotels, retail and outlet shopping, attractions, dining, and travel services.

  • $11.7m in state tax and $9.0m in local tax receipts which provide county services and reduce the tax burden on every household in the county by $292.00.

  • Johnston County’s visitor spending represents 9% of the state’s tourism economic impact.

  • 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.

  • More than 2,000 people are employed in the tourism sector, with labor income more than $65.9m. 

Based on tourism industry segments, visitors spent in the following categories: (millions)

2021 Tourism Spending Graphic

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

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 in 2020 launched the “Tourism Does That” monthly newsletter.  Residents and community leaders are encouraged to sign up for our monthly newsletter here

In May of this year, Governor Roy Cooper announced that the North Carolina tourism industry saw a major recovery in 2021 with $28.9 billion in visitor spending. With domestic travel reaching new heights as international visitation lagged, the total falls just 1 percent below the record set in 2019 and represents a 45 percent increase from pandemic-stricken 2020.

To learn more about tourism in Johnston County, the Visitors Bureau provides additional information on the website here: