Spending sees growth rate of more than 21% from 2021

Chapel Hill, NC - (August 22, 2023)— Domestic and international visitors to and within Orange County spent $236.29 million in 2022, an increase of 21.3.% from 2021. The data comes from an annual study released recently by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Counties that rely on business travel as well as leisure trips did well. Eight of the top 10 counties with double-digit increases, are regarded as urban or regional city/suburban. Orange County’s 21.3% increase ranked at number 6.

“As we celebrate a record $236 million in visitor spending in Orange County we’re pleased that travel continues to return to Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and the University of North Carolina,” said Mark Bell, who serves as Town of Hillsborough Commissioner and chair of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau Advisory Board.

"The reality is the demand for Orange County, NC has spiked. People want to come here to enjoy restaurants, events, the walkability, the University happenings. Our Welcome Center has seen demand for information on available housing and retirement options. Visitors want to move from bigger cities like New York. Orange County is on the radar," added Bell.

Tourism impact highlights for 2022 for Orange County

• Domestic and international visitors spending totaled $236.29 up from $194.81 million in 2021. Visitors spending represents a tax savings of $110.36 per county resident.
• The travel and tourism industry directly employs 1,812.
• Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Orange County was $64.9 million.
• State tax revenue generated in Orange County totaled $9.1 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $7.4 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel- supported businesses. This total of $16.5 million is up from $15.2 million in state and local tax revenue generated in 2021.

These statistics come from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2022,” which can be accessed at partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics and measures visitor spending in lodging, food and beverage, recreation, retail and transportation as well as employment, payroll income and tax revenues directly generated by these expenditures.

Statewide, visitor spending was up 13.4 percent to $33.3 billion compared to 2021. Tourism employment increased 9.8 percent to 216,900.


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: www.VisitChapelHill.org.

Images -  https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1sZSfPllvRqjqj6bQnFQFV2t-9Bn4y7pM?usp=sharing
Header Photo is Dining on West Franklin Street by SP Murray