The Charlotte Region Generated Over $6.7 Billion in Visitor Spending Last Year – An Increase of 2.8%


Open Streets 704 charlotte stories nodaVisit North Carolina recently released the 2016 tourism report for our state, showing that 97 out the state’s 100 counties saw increases in visitor spending in 2016 compared to the prior year.

The Charlotte region saw about 27.8 million people visit our area last year 2016, an increase of roughly 1 million visitors compared with 2015, according to the study.

Visitor spending in our region saw an increase of 2.8%, generating just over $6.7 billion last year, compared to about $6.5 billion in 2015. Tourism-supported jobs in our region increased to 64,490 in 2016, up from 63,160 in 2015 (a 2.1 percent increase).

Here is a breakdown of what each county in our region generated (via;

County                  Visitor
Expenditures (millions)   
Change from Previous    Employment in tourism sector         Payroll (millions) State & Local Tax Collections (millions) Tax Savings per Resident   
Cabarrus (NC) $433.03 5.21% 4,500 $98.69 $32.50 $162.00
Chester (SC)* $23.88 4.01% 210 $3.82 $2.02 $62.47
Gaston (NC) $251.71 4.2% 1,950 $41.15 $18.66 $86.95
Iredell (NC) $247.26 5.76% 1,910 $39.59 $21.28 $122.89
Lancaster (SC)* $30.57 1.12% 270 $4.79 $2.81 $33.79
Lincoln (NC) $53.58 2.29% 390 $8.89 $4.60 $55.79
Mecklenburg (NC) $5,161.07 2.44% 50,770 $1,783.98 $371.89 $352.22
Rowan (NC) $166.85 3.98% 1,400 $26.83 $14.32 $101.56
Union (NC) $133.30 5.79% 1,040 $21.48 $9.84 $43.92
York (SC)* $215.13 3.96% 2,050 $37.13 $19.64 $80.05
2016 Charlotte MSA TOTAL $6,716.24 (billion) 64,490 $2,067.66
$497.56 $202.68 
(Average MSA)**
2015 Charlotte MSA TOTAL $6,533.18 (billion) 63,160 $1,996.41 (billion) $481.78 $199.26 
(Average MSA)**
YOY Change 2.8% 2.1% 3.6% 3.3% 1.7%


“Charlotte’s visitor economy has strengthened year after year,” says Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority CEO Tom Murray. “2016 presented both challenges and opportunities for our city and state, and we have worked hard to recruit and host impactful events that continuously enhance our city’s quality of life. We wholeheartedly believe that visitor spending enriches our community for not only those who visit here but also for all who call this community home.”

Across our state, visitors spent a record $22.9 billion in 2016, an increase of 4.4 percent from the previous year. North Carolina tax receipts as a result of visitor spending neared $1.2 billion in 2016, and local tax revenues directly resulting from visitor spending totaled more than $693 million. Visitor expenditures directly supported 219,094 jobs and generated nearly $5.6 billion in payroll income across North Carolina.

“Tourism serves as a specialized economic development engine that fuels North Carolina’s economy,” said Tammy O’Kelley, chairwoman of the North Carolina Travel and  Tourism Board and executive director of the Randolph County Tourism Development Authority. “A positive tourism economy is critical to our state’s overall economic health, and is made possible by our dedicated tourism partners who work hard every day to make sure that from the mountains to the Piedmont and the coast, North Carolina remains a destination of choice for travelers from across the globe.”

“North Carolina is an exceptionally beautiful state loved by residents and visitors,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina, which is part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. “North Carolina’s position as the sixth most-visited state in the nation — with more than 48 million visitors in 2016 — reinforces its status as a premier tourism destination.”

You can find out more specific data on 2016 visitor spending in our state on

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