‘The numbers are cooling off’  

By on March 27, 2024

previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
next arrow

Substantial drops in January 2024 tourism revenues in Dare County

While it’s only the first month of the year, the just-released Dare County January 2024 occupancy and meals collections numbers show a significant decrease from the same month in the previous year.

As Lee Nettles, Executive Director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau noted in a video presentation, the tourism-related numbers in January are traditionally small, but this January’s pattern is inescapable.

January 2024 occupancy collections amounted to $15.6 million dollars, down by half (52%) from the $32.3 million in 2023, and they represent the smallest occupancy numbers since 2020.

On the meals side, the drop-off was not as dramatic, but still the January 2024 total of $11.2 million was about a 26% decrease from the January 2023 total of about $15 million. (The $11.2 in collections was higher than the number for the years preceding 2023 however.)

Nettles said that interpreting the 2024 decreases was something of a matter of perspective, but he was clear about the signals sent in the first month of this year.

Speaking of the occupancy numbers, he stated that “Obviously, when you have a 52% drop, it raises an eyebrow or two.” The meals drop of 26%, he also characterized as “obviously a big number.”

Summing up, he acknowledged the clear trend and its implications. “The numbers are a bit all over the place [but] one thing we are seeing and are foreseeing is spring is going to be soft,” Nettles said. “The numbers are cooling off.”

SEE ALSO: Dare County Tourism Board March Recap


  • Selena Kyle

    I agree with Mark. These things could help:
    Incentivize westside and mainland owners to revert from weekly/vacation to long-term rental and re-open long-term opportunities for the transient and resident workforce.
    Stop pushing affordable housing because young and/or transient people don’t want or need to buy; they need 6-month or year-long leases which is what the VRBO and Airbnbs have taken away from residential neighborhoods that were never vacation rental destinations.
    And. We. Need. Apartments! Can’t someone build (more) apartments that would have on-site, well-paid management with full-time maintenance and security? It shouldn’t be so hard, given the gobs of money here.

    Friday, Mar 29 @ 11:27 am
  • Nj George

    @Fred McPeters. I love reading about all the haves and have nots feuding over traffic, taxes, fees, and property values.
    First world problems for sure.
    Soon obx will surpass NJ beaches in total development for the ones that care to pay for it. Then we can watch it all get swept away by mother nature.

    Saturday, Mar 30 @ 6:36 am
  • james

    I can promise you people on the “westside and mainland owners” do not want your problem and will not fix your problem for you and I am willing to bet they will fight with every tooth and nail to keep your big tourism problem in your own backyard and stop you from trying to float across the sound workers and others to support a beach front LLC.

    Saturday, Mar 30 @ 10:04 am
  • Njgeorge

    @Fred McPeters. Love reading the political stories, the fighting for traffic control, and all the zoning battles and land grabs by the well heeled.
    Just waiting for it all to get washed away by the once in 200 year storm that will come soon. Can’t figure out why you would invest large sums of money building on a sand spit.

    Saturday, Mar 30 @ 2:59 pm
  • Njgeorge

    Well the good news is route 12 is now open until it isn’t.

    Tuesday, Apr 2 @ 8:24 am