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Jackson County reports 3.5% increase in visitor spending

JACKSON COUNTY, N.C. (8/25/2023) — Ideally situated in the Western North Carolina mountains and comprised of the distinctive towns of Cashiers, Sylva, Dillsboro and Cherokee, Jackson County today announced an increase of 3.5 percent in visitor spending during 2022. Domestic and international visitors to and within Jackson County spent $452.57 million last year, up from $437.41 million in 2021. The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“I am delighted to see the steady increase in visitor spending within Jackson County during 2022,” said Nick Breedlove, director of the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority (JCTDA). “These numbers are a testament to our destination’s timeless charm and enduring appeal. We’re grateful to a long list of dedicated lodging, restaurant and sustainability partners who help attract returning and new visitors each year.”

Visitors deposit on average $1,239,917 every day into Jackson County businesses. These dollars support local jobs, which help people put food on the table, pay their mortgages, and support their families. Additionally, sales tax revenues are generated by this spending which comes back to Jackson County’s budget and in turn, support critical items like parks and recreation, law enforcement and fire departments, housing services, emergency medical services and more.

Jackson County is known for outdoor adventure, culture, shopping, dining and charming locales. Visitors also enjoy the nation’s first and only Fly-Fishing Trail®, the state’s first and only Certified Forest Therapy Trail, plus majestic mountains, scenic hikes, spectacular waterfalls and more near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Roughly one million visitors come to Jackson County each year, Breedlove said.

Tourism impact highlights from 2022 include:

The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 2,400 in Jackson County.
The total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Jackson County was $119.2 million.
State tax revenue generated in Jackson County totaled $15.2 million through state sales and excise taxes and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $15 million in local taxes was generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.
Residents save $703.38 annually on taxes due to visitor spending.

These statistics come from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2022,” which can be accessed at The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association.

Statewide, visitor spending in 2022 rose 15.2 percent to reach a record $33.3 billion. Direct tourism employment increased 9.8 percent to 216,900.

“North Carolina’s tourism industry draws its success from the authentic culture and experiences that flourish across a spectrum of settings,” said Wit Tuttell, Visit NC’s executive director. “The new report from Tourism Economics shows growth beyond our celebrated mountains and beaches to our urban centers and surrounding suburban and rural counties. Tourism’s strength across the state underscores the industry’s role as an anchor of economic development. The money visitors spend benefits everyone by sustaining jobs and reducing the tax burden for every resident.”

Statewide highlights from 2022 include:

Total spending by domestic and international visitors in North Carolina reached $33.3 billion in 2022, a 15.2 percent increase over 2021 expenditures. The figure is 14 percent above the record $29.22 billion spent in 2019.
Domestic travelers spent a record $32.4 billion in 2022. Spending was up 13.4 percent from $28.6 billion in 2021.
International travelers spent $910 million in 2022, up 170 percent from the previous year.
Visitors to North Carolina generated $4.2 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2022. The total represents a 7.9 percent increase from 2020.
State tax receipts from visitor spending rose 6.5 percent to nearly $1.3 billion in 2022.
Local tax receipts grew 3.5 percent to nearly $1.2 billion.
Direct tourism employment in North Carolina increased 9.8 percent to 216,900.
Direct tourism payroll increased 13.5 percent to $8.7 billion.
Visitors spend more than $91 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $6.7 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.5 million in state taxes and $3.2 million in local taxes).
Each North Carolina household saved $512 on average in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state. Savings per capita averaged $230.
North Carolina hosted approximately 43 million visitors in 2022.

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