Visitor spending increases to $4.9 billion in Mecklenburg County

Visitor spending increases to $4.9 billion in Mecklenburg County
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News Capsule

The economic impact of tourism in Mecklenburg County grew by 6.1 percent in 2014, with visitors infusing $4.9 billion in domestic spending, compared to $4.6 billion in 2013.



  • Visitor spending has seen a steady rise since 2009 and has grown by 47 percent, an average of 9.5 percent each year.
  • According to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, major drivers for growth were in the hotel and food and beverage industries:
    • 6.3 million rooms were sold in 2014 compared to 5.8 million in 2013. The 464,000 additional rooms represented an 8% year-over-year growth.
    • In addition to more rooms being sold, higher occupancy means that all rooms can command higher rates. Average Daily Rate grew in 2014 by 4.4% to $98.20 from $94.07 in 2013.
    • The combined result of nearly half a million more rooms sold and more than $4 per room growth in room rates meant that hotel revenue grew by 12.7% to $619.1 million.  This increase was $69.7 million.
    • Food and beverage tax revenues in calendar year 2013 were $25.26 million, representing sales of $2.53 billion. The tax collections in calendar year 2014 were $27.58 million, representing sales of $2.76 billion. Prepared food and beverage sales in Mecklenburg County grew by 9.1%, or $230 million year-over-year.
  • In addition to growth in the hotel and food and beverage industries, Charlotte Douglas International Airport saw 44.3 million passengers in 2014 compared to 43.5 million in 2013, a 1.9% increase over the prior year.
  • More than 48,320 jobs are supported by the tourism industry in Mecklenburg County with a payroll of $1.6 billion, making it an important economic sector with a measurable impact on our community.
  • State and local tax revenues from travel to Mecklenburg County totaled $341 million, representing a $336 tax saving for every county resident.
  • In calculating the tourism spending in the Charlotte region, spending totaled more than $6.3 billion. This encompasses 10 counties in North Carolina and three in South Carolina outlined in the Charlotte Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
  • Statewide, domestic visitors spent a record $21.3 billion in 2014, directly supporting 204,909 jobs and nearly $4.9 billion in payroll income across North Carolina.
  • 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. Full tables can be accessed at

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“These numbers represent steady and significant growth for Mecklenburg County and the region. We had a continuous stream of impactful events that drew attendees complemented by increased leisure and business sector growth. This type of consistent momentum is what truly creates enduring economic impact that creates jobs and opportunities for our region.” – Tom Murray, CRVA CEO

“Tourism is a major force in North Carolina’s economic development. The industry is fueling a continued growth in jobs and contributing substantial sums to the state budget and local economies in every corner of our great state.” – Governor McCrory

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