Annual Chatham County visitor impact report shows 11.3% increase


PITTSBORO — Domestic and international visitors to and within Chatham County spent $75.72 million in 2022, an increase of 11.3% from 2021, according to new data.  

The spending report comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. 

“Chatham County’s tourism and hospitality industry continues to grow, with predominantly small businesses offering events and activities appealing to our visitors,” said Neha Shah, director of the Pittsboro-Siler City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), which is the designated official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Chatham County. 

State tax revenue generated in Chatham County totaled around $3.2 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $2.8 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses. 

The total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Chatham County was $23 million, the data showed. 

Statewide, North Carolina set a record for visitor spending in 2022. As previously reported in May, travel statewide rose 15.2%, an increase following a 2021 turnaround from the pandemic’s 2020 peak, which brought a devastating drop of 32% in visitor spending. 

“As we celebrate a record $33.3 billion in visitor spending statewide, we’re pleased that counties that rely on business travel, as well as leisure trips, are doing well,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. 

The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 624 in Chatham County, according to the report. 

The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association. 

“Tourism is more than an essential industry for the state,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit NC. “It’s an economic development force in all 100 of our counties, the places where travelers experience our scenic beauty and adventure, our cuisine and unique culture, our history and the dynamic forces that create our enduring appeal. We look forward to continued success in welcoming people to experience places they won’t find anywhere else.”