Chapel Hill, NC - (August 21, 2019) – Visit North Carolina announced recently that domestic visitors to and within Orange County, NC spent $208 million in 2018, a 5.1% increase from 2017. This represents a tax savings of $107.31 per county resident.

The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, and shows that tourism continues to be a major driver of economic development in Orange County and across the state.

“We cite the strong economy, a continued surge in consumer travel and greater demand for our hotels, University and overall destinations’ offerings as the reasons for this continued spending growth,” said Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau. “In addition, our success is attributed to the authenticity that visitors experience, and in partnership with the hospitality industry, our passionate effort to inform and inspire travelers. The money visitors spend benefits everyone by sustaining jobs and reducing our residents’ tax burden.”

Paolicelli said that the Atlantic Coast is the top source of visitors for Orange County, from the drive markets from Washington D.C., to Atlanta.

Orange County Tourism impact highlights for 2018:

•    The travel and tourism industry directly employs 1,940 in Orange County, up 1.5% over 2017.  
•    Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Orange County was $41.91 million, a 4.6% increase.
•    State tax revenue generated in Orange County totaled $11.13 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. This is a 4.1% increase over 2017.
•     About $4.52 million in local taxes, an increase of 4.4%, were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.

These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2018,” which can be accessed at The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by the U.S. Travel Association. Economic impact is represented by measures of spending, employment, payroll, and tax revenues.    
Governor Roy Cooper announced in May that visitors to North Carolina set a record for spending in 2018. The $25.3 billion in total spending represented an increase of 5.6 percent from 2017.


About the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau
As the official accredited destination marketing organization of Chapel Hill and Orange County, the mission of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau is to develop and coordinate visitor services in Orange County and to implement marketing programs that will enhance the economic activity and quality of life in the community. The Visitors Bureau is a department of Orange County, NC Government. For information: