Travel matters. It matters with job creation, productivity and regional economic expansion. Travel matters to our national economy, and it matters here in greater Fayetteville, N.C.
Nationwide, travel and tourism is one of America’s largest industries, employing more workers than both the insurance and auto industries. In 2010, it generated $1.8 trillion in economic output, and it delivered $118 billion in tax revenues. In fact, without travel and tourism’s contribution to the tax base, each household would be taxed an additional $1,000 per year.
Domestic visitors to and within North Carolina travel and tourism spend $15.6 billion per year, generating more than $1.4 billion in state and local tax revenues. This economic activity sustains 362,052 jobs statewide.
Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, Cumberland County generates the ninth highest economic impact from domestic tourism. In 2009, travel and tourism to Cumberland generated $379.59 million in expenditures and $30 million in state and local tax revenues. This represents a $93.27 tax savings to each Cumberland County resident.
Additionally Cumberland County’s tourism industry employs 4,130 people with a payroll of $77.30 million.
The Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (FACVB) works to maximize the economic impact from travel to Cumberland County. That ﬁ gure is steadily rising. From 1999 to 2009, county tourism expenditures grew 57 percent — from $240.71 million in 1999 to the present ﬁgure of $379.59 million.
The bureau’s mission to position Cumberland County as a destination for conventions, tournaments and individual travel means that we market the community as a place to visit, whether for business or leisure.
The FACVB is funded solely through occupancy taxes, collected from overnight visitors at Cumberland County hotels and administered by the Tourism Development Authority (TDA). This means that no local taxpayer money is used for the promotion of travel and tourism. (The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County and The Crown Center receive a portion of occupancy tax collections.)
Tourists also increase the tax base. The 160,000 overnight hotel visitors per month generate city and county sales tax from their hotel stay, restaurant visits, shopping and from any other activities in which they participate during their visit to Cumberland County.
Marketing the community
You might wonder how the FACVB markets the community to visitors. Each year we produce a detailed program of work that outlines the program for the coming year. A few of the projects/tactics on the plan typically include
• Attending trade shows to secure potential meeting-planner business
• E-blasts to past and potential visitors with speciﬁc interests
• Web development with an emphasis on search engine optimization
• Public Relations plan for securing positive publicity on Cumberland County as a travel destination
• Development of a destination guide for all market segments
• Attending trade shows to secure group tour business
• Product development (packaging and selling the community’s products)
• Targeted print and web advertisements
All of our marketing decisions are research-based allowing us to pinpoint needs or wants of visitors. Research shows some successes. According to a conversion study completed last spring, for each $1 the FACVB spends on marketing, visitors spend $4.53 in Cumberland County. This represents a 400 percent return on investment. Other key ﬁndings:
• The Fayetteville Area Destination Guide is a key decision-making tool. The Fayetteville Area Destination Guide is the most used source of information for trip planning.
• Average spending per person per day is estimated at $150, making each visitor inquiry worth $1,404. • The majority of converted visitors are 35-54 in age; 43 percent had children under 18 in the group in an average party size of 2.6; and 34 percent have incomes of $75,000 or more.
• The three most frequent primary purposes for visiting were relocation (26 percent), military (21 percent) and family vacations (21 percent).
• Relaxing, dining out and visiting historic and military sites and museums are the primary activities of our visitors.
• Half of visitors are staying in hotels and motels; and almost all visitors plan to return. The average length of stay is between 3.6 and 4.7 nights.
• Ease of access by car and historic sites are top-rated aspects of the city by visitors
The FACVB continues to maximize the impact of travel and tourism on our economy by providing programs and services for visitors to Cumberland County. We always keep an eye on the visitor — and work to fulﬁ ll their needs.
BECAUSE THE VISITOR
Because the visitor has a need, we have a job to do.
Because the visitor has a choice, we must be the better choice.
Because the visitor has sensibilities… we must be considerate.
Because the visitor has an urgency, we must be quick.
Because the visitor has high expectations, we must excel.
Because the Visitor has inﬂ uence, we have the hope of more Visitors.
Because of the visitor, we exist.
- Karl Yena, Yena & Associates