Visitors spending in Dare County rose by 8% to nearly $2 billion in 2022

By on August 19, 2023

Tourist spending hit a new high in Dare County in 2022. (File photo: Neel Keller)

An Aug. 18 report from the N.C. Department of Commerce that found record visitor spending in the state in 2022, ranks Dare County No. 4 in tourism dollars, with Currituck County coming in in the 14th spot.

The overall $33.3 billion in visitor spending in the state in 2022 is a record-setting number, according to the Department of Commerce release.

The data show Dare County ranked below only Mecklenburg, Wake and Buncombe counties in tourism spending, at $1.97 billion—an increase of 8% over the 2021 numbers. The study also indicates that in 2022, visitor spending brought in $140 million in state and local taxes in Dare County, resulting in a tax savings of about $3,700 per county resident.

Tourism spending in 2022 for Currituck County was about $550 million dollars, a substantial 16.2% increase from the 2021 visitor dollars. Visitor spending in 2022 is calculated to have saved Currituck County residents about $1,200 each.

The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau celebrated the news in a release, noting the $1.97 billion figure represents an all-time high in Dare County.

“The nearly $3,700 in tax relief per local resident emphasizes one of the positive impacts of tourism, as does the employment figure with nearly half of all Dare County jobs happening in the tourism industry,” Lee Nettles, Outer Banks Visitor Executive Director, said in the release. “But the Dare County Tourism Board’s work with Long-Range Tourism Management Planning (LRTMP) demonstrates the Board’s commitment to responsible growth, recognizing and managing the negative impacts caused by tourism.”



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  • PJ

    I am still waiting for the controlled growth and managing the negative impacts of tourism the article mentions. BS! Id be interested in knowing what has been done on those two fronts more than if its a record breaking money year. I wont be celebrating more money being made because it comes at a cost of quality of life to us who live here. Its a no brainer there was more money was spent this year. With overcrowding as a result of NO growth management and everything being more expensive this year it was inevitable. I think 2023 will sadly be remembered as the summer of death rather than a record breaking money year worthy of celebration.

    Saturday, Aug 19 @ 2:02 pm
  • Bobby

    How is the spending measured?

    Saturday, Aug 19 @ 5:36 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Bobby, here’s a link to the NC Department of Commerce’s methodology.

    Saturday, Aug 19 @ 6:48 pm
  • charlie

    The tourism taxes are supposed to be spent to increase shoulder season tourism —-AND–offset the negatives tourism cause to the local population… How about we stop putting good money after bad in the event site and start putting good money into affordable housing so we can have workers for the tourist trade?…Imagine a number of apartment complexes with afforable rents.. Eventually these would become self sustaining…and renters would be able to put away money for down payments on homes….

    Sunday, Aug 20 @ 7:32 am
  • Currituck

    To PJ…Which individuals would you have make the decision on who visits and what they can do during the visit? Makes me chuckle when people want others to decide who the winners and losers will be in any equation. Why, because those chosen never get it right. The correct solution is for the market to decide. I am not picking on you PJ as I too remember the way it used to be. But also remember the lack of choice for everything we needed. That lack of choice also impacted what we paid for goods and services. Medical care choices were few.

    You and I could move to a non destination location. That we can control and requires no input from others.



    Sunday, Aug 20 @ 8:49 am
  • Arthur Pewty

    When your money is worth a lot less, you have to spend a lot more.

    Sunday, Aug 20 @ 2:31 pm
  • OBX Dan

    I wonder if the “leaders” in Currituck County will finally start investing in their golden goose? $1,200 savings for mainland residents yet nothing for affordable housing for the hemorrhaging Corolla labor force or long-overdue beach nourishment. Malpractice.

    Sunday, Aug 20 @ 2:43 pm
  • Kristy

    Music to John Harris ear’s and others like him.

    Sunday, Aug 20 @ 9:01 pm
  • Currituck

    OBX Dan,

    Did Corolla shut down this summer and I not hear about it. If Corolla businesses need more employees then they are the ones to create and finance the solution. The County government is not responsible for making that happen. They cannot even manage, efficiently, what they undertake now. This is the same county that once announced, because of high gas prices, that they were cutting out all unnecessary travel. Before that I guess unnecessary travel made perfect sense.


    Monday, Aug 21 @ 6:03 am
  • Jay

    “The nearly $3,700 in tax relief per local resident emphasizes one of the positive impacts of tourism, as does the employment figure with nearly half of all Dare County jobs happening in the tourism industry,”

    Should I check my mailbox for my $3,700 tax relief check? Sadly our elected and non-elected leaders have already spent the savings. When the next downturn in our Outer Banks economy hits and incoming tax revenue declines the State, County, and towns will turn to the residents to make up the difference with increased taxes on us.

    Monday, Aug 21 @ 9:04 am
  • Jon

    I’m not gonna hate on Lee, he’s a decent guy, but c’mon $3,700 per resident saved? That’s an under-analysis, to say the least. We can’t simply divide tourism taxes by resident population and be all happy that is the amount “saved”, without considering all of the added government spending made necessary by tourism.

    Maybe instead compare the resident tax burden with Elizabeth City/Pasquotank–a similar sized city/county that also benefits from a Coast Guard base–and use that figure instead. I get a figure less than $1,000 per *household*, not per resident. Or do we really think that a family of four in Elizabeth City pays $14,800 more in local taxes than the same family would in Dare County?

    Sure, Dare has better schools and $100M+ worth of sand on the beach…well, some of it is still there, anyway…

    Monday, Aug 21 @ 10:32 am
  • Charles

    Wait until you see 2023…..

    Monday, Aug 21 @ 11:27 am
  • Robert Schaible

    Does that 8% include the inflation factor?

    Tuesday, Aug 22 @ 1:12 pm