We pass popular tourist sites like the Ava Gardner Museum every day; we may not even think of how it supports our community. But the Ava Museum and others like Bentonville Battlefield and the Tobacco Farm Life Museum, or restaurants like Simple Twist, are the backbone of Johnston County. These places define our community, provide our families with jobs, and have given us a lifetime of memories.

Travel matters, and it improves JoCo in ways that have a wide-reaching impact on local residents. Travel supports 1,860 plus jobs and over $39.29 million in payroll, and it also has an impact that we do not always see: travel can strengthen families, foster hometown pride, and build bridges that connect us with one another.

Travel Matters to America

At the national level, travel is critical to the U.S. economy and American jobs. As a leader in workforce development and career advancement–travel creates and supports 15.7 million jobs across the U.S.–making it the seventh-largest private sector employer. In 2018, traveler spending generated $171 billion in total tax revenue, including $78.6 billion in state and local revenue. That $78.6 billion can pay for a host of critical resources: it’s more than enough to pay all state and local police and firefighters, or the more than one million public high school teachers.

Travel is powerful for cities and states, and JoCo is no exception. State tax revenue generated in Johnston County totaled $13.41 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $6.08 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses. 

Think back to your first job. Maybe you worked at Hills of Snow, Tucker Lake, or the Carolina Premium Outlets; maybe your kids work there now. For many–one third of Americans to be exact–travel is the front door to a promising career. Americans whose first job in travel have an average career salary of $81,900, and two in 5 of those whose first job was in travel are now earning more than $100,000.

Think about how travel matters to JoCo's many locally-owned shops and boutiques like Oak City, Three Little Birds, or Royal Boutique & Co: travel-dependent leisure and hospitality is the largest small business employer in the U.S.

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Those are only a few reasons why it’s so important to keep welcoming visitors to Johnston County's many small towns —and why our industry is elevating the message of “Travel Matters” during National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) May 5-11. We encourage you to join us in observing NTTW this year, and celebrate all that travel does for JoCo, and for our country as a whole.

Here are a few ways to get involved:
• Contact our members of Congress and tell them why travel is important to Johnston County.
• Get social and engage with the #nttw19 hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Share how travel matters in your community.

This year’s NTTW is more than just another campaign. It’s a movement that positions the travel industry as a primary driver in the U.S. economy, and as an important part of our daily lives in JoCo.