WCU students analyze impact of tourism on local economies

Mar 14, 2017
Photo by: Thinkstock

CULLOWHEE — Students in a senior-level course taught by Steve Morse, director of WCU’s Hospitality and Tourism Program, recently presented fact sheets containing detailed information illustrating the regional impact of spending by tourists and travelers on the tax base and job creation in several North Carolina counties.

The students utilized county data for 2015 from the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development.

Their analysis showed tourist spending in the 26 counties of Western North Carolina was $3.34 billion, a 3.5 percent increase over the previous year, and generated 31,540 jobs that netted $672 million in income and worker paychecks.

Highlights include:

— Buncombe County: Generated $1 billion in direct tourist spending; produced $221.68 million in worker income; generated $83.40 million in combined state and local taxes; created 10,640 jobs; and reduced the average household local and state tax bill by $715.

— Haywood County: Generated $167.56 million in direct tourist spending; produced $35.76 million in worker income; generated $15.53 million in combined state and local taxes; created 1,710 jobs; and reduced the average household local and state tax bill by $442.

— Jackson County: Generated $175.92 million in direct tourist spending; produced $41.43 million in worker income; generated $17.83 million in combined state and local taxes; created 1,710 jobs; and reduced the average household local and state tax bill by $667.

For more information and a copy of complete county-specific fact sheets, contact Morse at 227-3386 or email scmorse@wcu.edu.