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Posted on: August 31, 2022

2021 Visitor Impact on Warren County: County Tops State in Growth Since 2019

Domestic and international visitors to and within Warren County spent $63.01 million in 2021, an increase of 27% from 2020. The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

In 2021, visitor spending in Warren County grew 68% from spending levels pre-pandemic; prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the county saw $31 million spent in 20109. Warren County had the highest growth from pre-pandemic levels than any other county in the state. 

Visitor spending includes lodging (including second home spending), food and beverage, recreation, retail, and transport.  

“Our residents and businesses know that Warren County is a special place; visitors have recognized this for years as well,” stated Charla Duncan, Director of Warren County Community & Economic Development. “Warren County’s travel and visitor industry has been able to demonstrate continued resilience, and even come out in a better position than we were before our COVID challenges.”

“Our strength in Warren County continues to be that our natural and cultural assets are a stable, safe, and desirable resource for visitors.”

In both 2019 and 2020, Warren County was recognized for topping the state in visitor spending growth from the previous years.

Visitor impact highlights for 2021

  • The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 232 people in Warren County.  
  • The total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Warren County was $10.8 million.
  • Visitor spending totals $3.5 million to the tax base in Warren County.

“Our existing businesses are continuing to see a positive impact from our tourism draw, and we hope that potential businesses can look at this growth and see the value of operating in Warren County as well,” stated Duncan.

 These statistics come from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2021,” 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 2021 rebounded by 44.9 percent to reach $28.9 billion. Following the devastating pandemic-related losses of 2020, the total fell just short of the record $29.22 spent in 2019. Direct tourism employment increased 10.5 percent to 197,500.

“These findings are something that everyone in North Carolina can celebrate,” said Visit NC Director Wit Tuttell. “They’re a testament to the resilience of our businesses and our residents, and to the enduring appeal of destinations that include everything a traveler might want. The economic well-being of the state and all its communities rises with the pleasures travelers find in the natural beauty of our public spaces, our culinary traditions and innovation, our remarkable towns and our spirited cities. North Carolina can claim it all.”

Statewide highlights include: 

  • Total spending by domestic and international visitors in North Carolina reached $28.9 billion in 2021. That sum represents a 44.9 percent increase over 2020 expenditures. The figure falls 1 percent below the record $29.22 billion spent in 2019. 
  • Domestic travelers spent a record $28.6 billion in 2021. Spending was up 45.2 percent from $19.7 billion in 2020. 
  • International travelers spent $337 million in 2021, up 25.6 percent from the previous year. 
  • Visitors to North Carolina generated $3.9 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2021. The total represents a 29 percent increase from 2020. 
  • State tax receipts from visitor spending rose 34 percent to nearly $1.2 billion in 2021. 
  • Local tax receipts grew 26 percent to $1.1 billion.
  • Direct tourism employment in North Carolina increased 10.5 percent to 197,500. 
  • Direct tourism payroll increased 18.9 percent to $7.7 billion. 
  • Visitors spent more than $79 million per day in North Carolina. That spending added $6.4 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.3 million in state taxes and $3.1 million in local taxes). 
  • Each North Carolina household saved $580 on average in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state. Savings per capita averaged $222.
  • North Carolina hosted nearly 45 million visitors in 2021. 

For more information, contact Charla Duncan at Warren County Community & Economic Development at 252-257-3115.


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