‘The numbers are cooling off’  

By on March 27, 2024

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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


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).



  • 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