October Sets New Monthly Occupancy Tax Collection Record As Crystal Coast Tourism Boom Continues | News

CARTERET COUNTY – The Crystal Coast has done it again: Occupancy tax receipts in October broke the all-time record for the month, continuing a 17-month streak of record-breaking hotel, vacation rentals and hospitality collections. ‘other temporary housing in Carteret County which began amid the pandemic.

The county collected $ 822,230 in occupancy taxes in October, breaking the previous record set in October 2020 of $ 584,136 and representing a 41% increase from the previous year. Prior to 2020, typical collections for October – one of the months in the “shoulder season,” when the peak in tourism subsided, but the off-season did not fully settle in – ranged from $ 200,000. greater than $ 400,000 less.

Until the end of October, the county collected $ 12.1 million in occupancy taxes for the 2021 calendar year, already surpassing the previous annual collection record two months from the end. The previous record was set in 2020, when the county collected more than $ 9 million.

Using rough estimates, Crystal Coast Tourism Development Authority executive director Jim Browder said if the trend continued through the end of the year, he projected total collections for 2021 would reach about $ 12.6 or $ 12.7 million.

“I think November and December will see an increase,” he said. “We’ve been pushing the holiday events pretty hard, so we think December will be a great month. “

Turning to October numbers, Browder said several high-profile events returned after taking a hiatus last year during the coronavirus pandemic, including the NC Seafood Festival, Emerald Isle Marathon and Beaufort Wine & Food.

“October is a testament to the return of events to the region,” said Mr. Browder. “… Although we had positive growth in September, it was much stronger in October. I think people are comfortable going out and moving more again and this is leading to increased tourism.

The TDA – which shares occupancy tax collection 50/50 with the County Shore Protection Office and uses its share for advertising – has focused its efforts in recent years on boosting tourism during shoulder seasons, an approach that, according to Mr. Browder, has started to bear fruit. Another strategy that he says has been successful is advertising campaigns targeting more specific geographic regions, particularly the Interstate 95 corridor.

“Previously the net was wide enough for advertising, but lately we’ve brought the circle a lot closer,” he said.

Mr Browder said many people have visited Carteret County for the first time this year, and a greater proportion of visitors come from areas like Charlotte and northern Virginia / Washington, DC / Maryland than previously. He said that people who visit the Crystal Coast tend to be very loyal and often become regular or even annual visitors.

“I think this will translate into a stronger tourism base in the future,” he said.

Mr Browder acknowledges that the past two tourism seasons have been rather exceptional due to the pandemic, and that the record growth seen in the past 17+ months is unlikely to be sustainable. He said many factors, such as limited international travel options and tourists’ desire for more outward-facing locations, have likely helped the region as other destinations have struggled.

However, if early bookings are any indication, he believes growth will continue next year and beyond, although not as spectacular.

“I don’t think we’re going to go back,” he said. “All of those negatives (of the pandemic) have worked because of our positives, but I think it will eventually level off. “

Contact Elise Clouser at [email protected]; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow us on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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