News & Media

North Carolina Tourists Spent Record in 2023

ByKevin Ellis, Business North Carolina 

North Carolina tourists spent a record $35.6 billion on trips to and within the state. The previous record was $33.3 billion in 2022.

With nearly 43 million visitors from across the United States, North Carolina ranks No. 5 behind California, Florida, Texas and New York in domestic visitation. North Carolina also had nearly 700,000 international travelers with spending increasing 9.5% to $997 million.

“We’re excited that North Carolina continues to be a Top 5 state for visitors from around the world,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a release. “Our investments in tourism are paying dividends for our visitors experiencing the great things across North Carolina and for the great jobs it brings across the state.”

This is National Travel and Tourism Week (May 19-25), which promotes the industry’s importance. The state’s Welcome Centers are hosting activities throughout the week.

Hatteras Island in North Carolina Outer Banks.

Other key stats about N.C. tourism include:

  • The tourism-supported workforce in North Carolina increased 4.8% to 227,200 jobs in 2023. Tourism payroll increased 6.6% to $9.3 billion.
  • Travelers’ contributions to state and local tax revenue result in $518 in average annual savings for North Carolina households.

The figures from research commissioned by Visit North Carolina, part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, and conducted by Tourism Economics. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, OmniTrak visitor profiles, the U.S. Census, STR, AirDNA and KeyData lodging reports and the N.C. Department of Revenue are among the sources included in this model.