Increased visitor spending brings more income to Stanly, new report says
Published 2:23 pm Monday, August 29, 2022
With businesses opening back up in 2021 because of the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, all 100 counties in North Carolina had increased visitor spending, according to a report issued recently by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
Stanly’s numbers increased as well, the report stated, by 43.9 percent from 2020 to 2021, putting the county 34th in the state in terms of the percentage of increase.
The county ranked 51st in terms of the overall amount of visitor spending.
Chris Lambert, executive director of the Stanly County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said 2021 was a great year.
“We attribute a lot of our increase to the pandemic relief. However, our Board of Directors has implemented a promotional plan using many different platforms that has benefited Stanly County tremendously. We have seen the largest increase in tourism in the history of the CVB and I’m thankful for the current group of directors. I look forward to the future of Stanley County tourism.”
Total spending in Stanly in 2021 was $92.45 million, including lodging at $19.19 million which includes second-home spending. Food and beverage increased $32.54 million, with recreation up to $11.24 million, retail at $7.65 million and $21.83 million in ground and air transportation.
“The increased tourism related spending provides a very nice boost to our local economy,” County Manager Andy Lucas said. “The multiplying impact of tourism spending helps to create jobs and those local jobs lead to additional spending in our community.”
Noting tourism spending “declined significantly in 2020 due to COVID,” Lucas added, “comparing the 2021 numbers to 2020 is not the best assessment tool. However, our estimated tourism related revenue in 2021 exceed the 2019 (pre-COVID) figure by over $3 million (3.5%) which is very encouraging. Tourism spending definitely has a positive impact on sales tax revenue which helps to fund government services.”