April 2024 occupancy, meals collections down significantly from last year

By on June 30, 2024

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By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

After a modest uptick in March, Dare County’s April 2024 occupancy and meals collections dropped markedly compared with the same month in 2023—extending the pattern that has emerged this year.

The newest numbers, released as part of a recap of the Dare County June Tourism Board meeting, show that April 2024 occupancy collections fell 23.55% (to $33.5 million) compared with April 2023.  The April 2024 meals collections dropped 12.25% (to $26.2 million) from the April 2023 totals.

Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles did not offer much explanation for the April numbers in the video recap, but he did note that “we were expecting a drop [in that month], given that Easter was in March.”

Overall, for the first four months of 2024, occupancy collections are down nearly one-quarter (24.05%) from the same period in 2023, while overall meal dollars are down 8.5% from the first four months of 2023.

The tone for the tourism revenue narrative this year was set with the release of the January 2024 numbers—which showed occupancy collections down a dramatic 52% from the January 2023 numbers and meals collections down by a very substantial 26%.

At that time, Nettles said that “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.”

Thus far, as the numbers get closer to revealing what the peak months of the 2024 visitors season is looking like, the cooling trend is dominant.

Watch the Dare County Tourism Board Recap | June 2024.


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  • democracy

    There’s an easy explanation for this. The owners and property managers got too greedy and raised rents too high.

    Sunday, Jun 30 @ 7:14 pm
  • Travis

    The Covid years were an outlier and even 2023 should be considered part of that period. So I would be more curious to know how 2024’s numbers compare to 2019’s numbers.

    Sunday, Jun 30 @ 9:08 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Sunday, Jun 30 @ 9:44 pm
  • charlie

    democracy and travis have good points….compare 2019 to 2024.. include average prices. Perhaps the ever increasing size of “single family” mcmansions are pricing folks out?…Kidding a little bit- do you want to go on vacation with 20 or more relatives?… The housing mix has been skewing for years. Once readily available cottage courts and motels are becoming non-existant..As the tourism folks are working on a “sustainable tourism industry” they should be looking at the housing mix and does it fit their expectations?.

    Monday, Jul 1 @ 7:45 am
  • Part Time OBX'r

    2 quick high level thoughts: ‘democracy’ is correct, greedy owners and property managers jacking rentals prices by sometimes near double have driven away families looking for an affordable vacation. They can go to MB , VB, and OC for the same money with better entertainment options – Truth. As for why the meals collections didn’t fall as much as occupancy; the cost of the same meal from 2023 to 2024 is nearly 50% higher, therefore the tax is subsequently higher based on a higher total bill due to crushing food prices. If prices were the same year over year, the drop in collections would likely match that of the occupancy tax decrease. Either way – want more vacationers, drop the rental prices back down where they belong.

    Monday, Jul 1 @ 8:14 am
  • surf123

    I consider this to be great news. We have been overrun by tourists for several years. The numbers are worse than first reading because rental costs and food costs have increased significantly. Even if the numbers were even it will still mean a decrease in visitors and eating out. Greed is saving those of us who live here. Now all we have to do is get Nettles and the Tourism Board to stop advertising.

    Monday, Jul 1 @ 2:38 pm
  • Terry

    This is good news. If we could take the next 10 years and back off to logical numbers, both the locals and the quality tourists would like it here a lot better.

    Monday, Jul 1 @ 8:37 pm
  • Job Done

    The Tourism Board has succeeded! Now time to disband the board.

    Monday, Jul 1 @ 8:43 pm
  • Frequent Guest

    Agree – less is better.

    Areas like the OBX become doomed when the realtors, developers, and builders take over. What suffers is quality of life.

    Tuesday, Jul 2 @ 9:24 am
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