Tourism numbers rising in NC, along the Crystal Coast

SWANSBORO, N.C. (WNCT) – North Carolina has seen an influx in spending from visitors who come to our state.

Tuesday, Governor Pat McCrory’s office announced 97 of the state’s 100 counties saw increases in visitor spending in 2014.

WNCT checked in with a Swansboro business to see how it benefited.

Tourism plays a major role in North Carolina’s economic development, something one local restaurant says they’ve seen increase significantly this year.

“We’ve had the longest waiting lines this year we’ve ever had,” said Evelyn “Yana Mama,” owner of Yana’s Restaurant.

McCrory announced North Carolina spent a record $21.3 billion statewide in 2014 for tourism, an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous year.

The owner of Yana’s Restaurant in Swansboro said she’s seen even higher increases, “Probably, I’m closer to ten percent really right now. But we usually have a good fall business too from all the things that occur during the summer.”

These numbers were calculated from an annual study conducted by the State of North Carolina and the U.S. Travel Association.

With North Carolina coming in as the sixth most visited state in the nation, those who come back each year say they aren’t surprised with the increase in tourist spending.

“I think, we see more people each year, so yes, I think it’s getting to be a quaint place to visit,” explained Amy Colaizzi & Martha Wellons, tourists from Virginia. “I think people have found out about it. Yeah, people have learned and people come back and they know what they want to shop for and they are ready to spend probably. I know I am.”

Carteret County landed in the top 3 counties in the state where the largest percent increase was in visitor spending.

With those tourism numbers rising, so are the numbers of first timers to Yana’s Restaurant.

The governor’s office cites the state’s diverse natural beauty and rewarding experiences as helping rank North Carolina as the sixth most visited state in the nation.

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