New report shows Pitt County tourist impact

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – More tourists in the streets means more money in your pocket.

Visitors from out of town spent $218 million in Pitt County in 2015. That’s an increase of 2.3 percent from 2014.

The more money spent by visitors in the community means a bigger payout from the state.

The local convention and visitor’s bureau executive director said the spike in tourism has already saved money.

“We know for a fact through the Department of Commerce that about $90 less is paid in taxes by residents here because of tourism money,” said Andrew Schimdt, Greenville-Pitt County Convention and Visitors’s Bureau executive director. “So, with people paying less taxes, they have to be happy about that.”

Pitt county ranked 21st out of North Carolina’s 100 counties in visitor expenditures in 2015.

“Whatever we can do to be different to help people come out from out of town is what I’m striving to do,” said Crossbones Tavern Manager Mark Munoz, who has the right attitude.

A new report shows Pitt County had a 2.3 percent increase in visitor spending.

Schmidt said Greenville’s growth has a lot do with it, “We are seeing a lot of new sports tourism with tournaments and events. Our expanding convention center is certainly bringing in bigger groups,” he explained. “And so, I think that points to the bigger numbers as well. And then, as Greenville’s hospitality infrastructure grows, we’re a growing city [and] that helps as well.”

Businesses have more opportunities to serve the community.

“We have people coming in, not only staying overnight but also for the day. They may be playing a day tournament. They are going to need places to eat.” Schmidt said, adding that local retail shops also cash in on the tourism increase. “Sports tournaments are great for retail outlets cause they might play two or three hours a day and then they go shopping.”

Local boutique owner Lauren Dishman said she sees customers from all over the area, “We definitely get a lot of traffic from outside surrounding areas, Kinston, Wilson, Rocky Mount, and New Bern.”

When you see more traffic, because of football games or other attractions, remember it’s all for the greater good.

“It might be busier some weekends during tournaments, but that’s all good problems to have. That means the economy in Greenville and Pitt County is benefiting,” said Schmidt.

The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 2,000 people in Pitt County, an increase of 2.6% over 2014.

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