Aggressive marketing pays off as Davidson County sees boost in tourism
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LEXINGTON, N.C. – Davidson County saw the state's largest increase in visitor spending last year. The U.S. Travel Association says the county's tourism dollars are up nearly 11 percent.
County Manager Robert Hyatt says in 2001, the area began a conscious effort to develop its tourism industry.
"The geography, the location, its beauty, its rural heritage. It had a lot of very positive things that we weren't taking full advantage of all of our assets here," he said.
That initiative was, in part, fueled by necessity.
"The traditional jobs here in the county have left. In the furniture and textiles and things like that," Hyatt said.
The tourism and travel industry helped fill that gap. Today, more than 900 people who live in the county work in the field.
"We do not want to be a secret. We want everybody to know so we put together a pretty aggressive marketing campaign, an advertising campaign. We have worked hard for people to hear about us," Robin Bivens, of the Lexington Tourism Authority and Visitor Center, said.
Recent statistics show it's paid off. Tourism brought more than $130 million to Davidson County in 2011, an increase of about $13 million compared to 2010. The revenues from visitor spending to both state and local tax receipts represents a tax savings of $70.99 for each Davidson County resident.
More than 187,000 people work in the tourism field in North Carolina, an industry that brought in more than $18 billion last year.