Visitor Spending Increased To $6.5 Billion In The Charlotte Region This Past Year

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charlotte visitor income

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) released their 2015 tourism spending figures, showing more good news for our region. Mecklenburg County saw a record $5 billion come in from visitor spending, and the Charlotte region’s income totaled just over $6.5 billion.

Mecklenburg County’s tourism revenue has seen a steady rise since 2009, growing by 52 percent since then, an average of 8.6 percent each year.

panthers stadium charlotte“We’re pleased to see the sixth continuous year of growth in Charlotte’s visitor economy,” commented CRVA CEO Tom Murray.

We’re now dominating the state, representing almost 23% of all travel expenditures in all of North Carolina (almost 2 and a half times that of Wake County’s $2.1 billion).

That $5 billion supports about 50,000 tourism related jobs in our County, and the tax revenue generated from tourism represents $349.39 tax saving for every Mecklenburg county resident.

The entire Charlotte region includes 10 counties, seven in North Carolina and three in South Carolina – here’s the breakdown for each county in our region:

County                  Economic Impact (millions)    Employment         Payroll (millions) State & Local Tax Collections (millions) Tax Savings per Resident**   
Cabarrus $411.58 4,320 $92.97 $30.73 $156.19
Chester* $22.96 210 $3.53 $1.82 $56.40
Gaston $241.47 1,890 $39.14 $17.83 $83.50
Iredell $233.80 1,820 $37.10 $20.03 $117.93
Lancaster* $30.23 260 $4.53 $2.69 $31.34
Lincoln $52.38 380 $8.61 $4.48 $55.25
Mecklenburg $5,037.90 49,870 $1,725.89 $361.29 $349.39
Rowan $160.47 1,360 $26.83 $13.70 $98.49
Union $126 990 $20.13 $9.25 $41.54
York* $206.93 1,950 $34.48 $17.50 $69.67
TOTAL $6,523.72 (billion) 63,050 $1,993.21 (billion) $479.32 $197.55 (Average MSA)

2015 saw improvements in almost every sector of Charlotte’s tourism:

  • The Charlotte region hosted approximately 26.8 million visitors in 2015, an increase of 1 million visitors from 2014.
  • Visitor spending is fueling job growth in Charlotte, with the hospitality and leisure industry growing at a faster pace than total employment. The hospitality and leisure industry overall represents 123,600 jobs in the Charlotte region (a 4.1 percent increase over 2014) and is the fourth-largest industry for employment.
  • More than 9.3 million hotel rooms were sold in the Charlotte region in 2015 (a 3.3 percent increase over 2014), generating more than $910 million in hotel room revenue (a 9.3 percent increase over 2014).

The visitor spending figures come from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina and conducted by the U.S. Travel Association. The study uses sales and tax revenue data, employment figures, and other industry and economic data to determine the overall impact of visitor spending in North Carolina.

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