Visitors to Chatham County spent $38.6 million in 2019

Pittsboro, NC – Domestic visitors to and within Chatham County spent $38.6 million in 2019, an increase of 4.5% from 2018. The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

Downtown Pittsboro. (photo by Gene Galin)

“We realize it is a challenging time for so many, but we also want to recognize that the tourism and hospitality industry in Chatham County was robust prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Neha Shah, director of the Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), which serves the entire county. “It is important to emphasize that we are here for our guests and our visitor businesses. We have been working very hard with state and national tourism officials analyzing research and focusing on strategies for recovery for leisure, business and group travel.”

Chatham County opened a new Welcome Center in Pittsboro in 2020.

Chatham County tourism impact highlights for 2019:

  • The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 200 people in Chatham County, a 1.2% increase from 2018. However, this figure is likely much higher, as it does not include a number of service-providing businesses within the leisure and hospitality industry. Also, Chatham County showed a 16% increase for the month of October 2019 when compared to 2018, due to Cycle NC making a designated stop in Siler City.
  • Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Chatham County was $4.93 million.
  • State tax revenue generated in Chatham County totaled $2.26 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $700,000 in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.
  • Tax savings per resident: $39.02.
(photo by Gene Galin)

“Tourism and hospitality are a significant part of the growing economy in Chatham County, and we are thrilled that the county has experienced its tenth consecutive year of increases in tourism economic impact,” said Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne. “We will continue to highlight Chatham County’s culture, history and development to encourage previous visitors to return and new visitors to discover the greatness of our county.”

Pop-Up dinner in Pittsboro, NC (photo by Gene Galin)

Visitors to North Carolina set a record for spending in 2019. The $26.7 billion in total spending represented an increase of 5.6 percent from 2018.

These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2019,” and the study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by the U.S. Travel Association.

Roberson Creek canoe ramp. (photo by Gene Galin)

“The numbers confirm the strength of North Carolina’s tourism industry as an anchor of economic development,” said Wit Tuttell, director of Visit North Carolina. “As the No. 6 state in the country for overnight visitation, we can attribute our success to the natural beauty and authenticity that visitors experience, and to a passionate effort to inform and inspire travelers.. The money they spend benefits everyone by sustaining jobs and reducing our residents’ tax burden.”

Statewide highlights include:

  • State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 5.0 percent to more than $1.3 billion in 2019.
  • Visitors spend more than $73 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $5.92 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.7 million in state taxes and $2.2 million in local taxes).
  • The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 235,000 North Carolinians.
  • Each North Carolina household saves on average $551 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.

The CVB is fully funded by revenues generated by the occupancy tax on lodging facilities in Chatham County. Additional information on the CVB and attractions and events in Chatham County can be found at