Local tourism groups celebrate 32nd annual National Travel & Tourism Week

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The U.S.S North Carolina. File photo.
The U.S.S North Carolina. File photo.

Local travel and tourism groups are joining together to celebrate the 32nd annual National Travel & Tourism Week.

Recognized from May 2-10, the week brings together travel partners and the business community, according to Connie Nelson, spokeswoman for the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Now in its 32nd year, National Travel & Tourism Week is an annual salute to travel and tourism in America,” Nelson said. “New Hanover County travel partners will participate in this nationwide week of events to champion the power of travel and celebrate the contributions that tourism makes to the economy.”

This year’s National Travel & Tourism Week theme is “Travel Is ____”. Communities and organizations will fill in the blank with what travel means. The goal of National Travel & Tourism Week is to demonstrate that travel is one of America’s largest industries and employers, Nelson said.

The Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau coordinates the local observance of National Travel & Tourism Week by engaging travel partners, visitors, local businesses and elected officials with activities and visual tools. At its April 20 meeting, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners signed a proclamation to designate May 2-10 as National Travel & Tourism Week in New Hanover County.

“Travel is truly everyone’s business. Nearly every business in Wilmington and our island beaches is impacted in some way, either directly or indirectly, by the new dollars that visitors bring into our community,” said Kim Hufham, president and CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority. “These new dollars help build our local tax base and provide a better quality of life for our residents. A portion of the room occupancy tax collections also helps to renourish our beaches, fund our convention center, and offset other tourism-related activities such as ocean safety programs.”

In North Carolina, travel and tourism is among the state’s fastest growing industries. Last year, domestic travelers spent more than $20 billion in North Carolina, Nelson said. In New Hanover County, room occupancy tax collections for fiscal year 2013-2014 recorded a third consecutive benchmark year.

“Travel is jobs, providing more than 5,460 jobs in New Hanover County and supporting a payroll of $105.41 million,” Nelson said. “Travel is a better quality of life for our citizens, generating approximately $41.84 million in state and local tax receipts and representing a $196 tax saving to each New Hanover County resident.”

Activities May 2-10 include:

  • On National Travel Rally Day—May 5—the convention and visitors bureau will host its second annual Travel Rally Breakfast to kick start the busy tourist season and celebrate with the hospitality industry and local elected officials.
  • Visitor information centers in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, and Wrightsville Beach will display “Welcome! Thanks for Visiting” banners and desk posters, and distribute free postcard souvenirs to visitors May 2-10.
  • The convention and visitors bureau will provide “Thank You for Visiting” and “#spreadtheWilm” ribbons for hotel/attraction front desk staff.
  • “Thank You for Visiting” desk posters will be on display at travel partner businesses the week of May 2-10.

For more information about National Travel & Tourism Week, visit the U.S. Travel Association’s website at www.ustravel.org. The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority/Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization of New Hanover County. Click here for more information.