July occupancy collections surge over $200M mark

By on September 21, 2022

(Dare County Tourism Board)

But record numbers don’t mean record visitors

The July 2022 occupancy revenues just reported by Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles surged over the $200 million mark to set an all-time record. But according to Nettles, that doesn’t mean we’re seeing more visitors.

In reviewing the data during his recap of the Sept. 15 Dare County Tourism Board meeting, Nettles reported on “the historic” occupancy collection numbers that showed a jump of 27% in July 2022 compared with July 2021. That’s the first time that occupancy numbers in any month surpassed the $200 million mark, coming in at $203.8 million. For the year to date, 2022 occupancy collections are up 13% over the previous record-setting year.

But Nettles added a significant point of context after reciting those numbers, noting that “we do see that a lot of these increases are driven by price changes, rate changes rather than number of people. In some cases, we’ve seen drops in the number of people as evidenced by some decreasing numbers in other lodging segments.”

In an interview with the Voice back in May, Nettles acknowledged that the county’s optimal capacity for tourists, in terms of sheer numbers, has already been reached, and even exceeded.

“The level of visitation that we’ve had in the last year and a half is not necessarily sustainable,” he said, “particularly when you combine it with a limited workforce and some of the other challenges we’ve got…There’s a price for that growth. The impacts of tourism are both positive and negative.”

In his summary of the Sept. 15 tourism board meeting, Nettles also reported that meals collections for July were up 9% over July 2021, at $61.1 million, with a year-to-date increase of a little over 6%.

Click here to watch the Dare County Tourism Board Recap.


  • Steven

    Result of that is life here has never been worse..

    Wednesday, Sep 21 @ 12:42 pm
  • Surf123

    Quick summary: Rental prices are rising pushing out those who have smaller vacation budgets. Those who do come are bearing the brunt of the rental inflation of the past few years. The current situation is probably a good balance in terms of tourists, but for many this place is a memory they were priced out of.

    Wednesday, Sep 21 @ 2:49 pm
  • Dare Co swings low

    This also drives people to open an air b&b rather than rent. They see the money.

    Please please vote out these commissioners!!!

    Wednesday, Sep 21 @ 4:08 pm
  • Patricia Merski

    Tourists, tourists, tourists…that’s all this county cares about. what about the murder-suicide that took place a few days ago…nothing further on that because, heaven forbid, the tourists hear about it, they won’t want to come here any more….what about the drug busts that are kept quiet sometimes….we live in a bubble here because the tourists make all the difference and not the locals …. I know you’ll say, there she goes again, but, that is free speech….just like we need that new hotel that is going to be build INSTEAD of affordable housing for locals, some who are living 3+ people in a house or apartment because they can’t afford a reasonable apt or house to rent…just saw a crappy house today for rent from Zillow for $3,500….really….well, I’ll wait again for the next tourist rejoice to come out.

    Wednesday, Sep 21 @ 6:32 pm
  • Charles

    Over 1/4 billion dollars occupancy and food taxes from tourists. Where does that money go?

    Wednesday, Sep 21 @ 8:23 pm
  • sandflea

    Probably to Richard Burr and the other phoney-outraged idiots legal fees for when they sue the pizza place for chewing their food in out in the open public.

    Thursday, Sep 22 @ 8:52 am
  • charlie

    at least or at last… lee Nettles did say we are maxed out. We can not sustain what is happening now….Now it is time for the tourism bureau to redefined itself…For decades it has promoted and built this huge tourism engine… Growth potential is limited but the legislation controlling how the bureau operates has not changed… a large % of the occupancy and meal taxes must go to advertising…. That could be changed so more goes to sustaining what we have… This could include low income and employee housing… It’s time for the tourism bureau to think outside of the box…a start would be to mothball the grandiose plans for the event center..

    Saturday, Sep 24 @ 7:54 am