North Carolina’s tourism, travel and outdoor recreation industries to receive $6 million investment

North Carolina's tourism, travel and outdoor recreation industries to receive $6 million investment

RALEIGH — North Carolina has received $6.4 million to implement a new tourism-focused economic stimulus initiative. The new program, Supporting and Strengthening Resiliency in North Carolina’s Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Sectors Initiative, will help develop and implement economic strengthening strategies for the recovery of North Carolina’s travel and tourism industries that have suffered economic losses due to the pandemic.

“The travel, tourism and outdoor recreation industries are major contributors to North Carolina’s economy, bringing people here from around the world and making our state a great place to live and work” , Governor Roy Cooper said. “Investing in the resilience and growth of this sector is the right thing to do for our entire economy.”

Robeson County’s accommodation and food service industry accounts for 9.27% ​​of jobs, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The retail sector accounts for 13.33% of jobs in the department. The arts, entertainment and recreation sector accounts for only 0.28% of the county’s total employment.

With funding from a tourism grant from the United States Economic Development Administration, this new initiative will provide a wide range of programs and services to support the development and expansion of the travel, tourism and tourism sectors. state outdoor recreation, including equipment manufacturing industry, while increasing resilience.

The initiative will capitalize on the state’s many natural, cultural and tourism assets, in addition to expanding North Carolina’s outdoor recreation activities in rural and underserved communities, including NC Main program communities. Street. From strategic economic development planning services to workforce development support, the initiative will also implement strategies that encourage travel and tourism that are consistent with CDC guidelines.

To help accelerate the recovery and reconstruction of the regional tourism, travel and outdoor recreation sectors, the initiative will meet the following conditions:

Workforce training that improves the skills and employment opportunities of workers in the industry

Economic development planning and coordination that responds to the state’s post-pandemic recovery

Technical programs that help regional economies in their pandemic recovery

“North Carolina’s hospitality industry is dependent on a strong economic recovery,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “With the right partnerships, North Carolina will create a more resilient economy for these industries and the thousands of small businesses and workers who rely on visitor spending.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division, North Carolina Pandemic Recovery Office, Appalachian State University, North Carolina Economic Development Partnership, and NC Restaurant and Lodging Association will collaborate on the initiative and support the following program components:

Appalachian State University | UPLIFT NC (Understand, Plan, Connect, Innovate, Finance and Tell) Program: UPLIFT NC will work with rural and disadvantaged communities to strengthen and connect tourist sites, services and businesses.

North Carolina Department of Commerce | Outdoor Recreation Economy Asset Development and Strategic Planning Program: This program will develop asset-based economic development strategies to identify opportunities for growth in the outdoor recreation sector.

North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association Foundation | Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Development Program: This niche workforce program will provide a robust offering of tourism and hospitality training and certification courses to new and existing employees of the hospitality industry.

North Carolina Office of the Outdoor Recreation Industry | Statewide Outdoor Recreation Industry Network Program: The program will develop a network that will foster the outdoor recreation industry statewide by promoting, connecting and supporting outdoor recreation businesses. this sector, with a particular focus on increasing the manufacturing of outdoor recreation equipment in the state.

North Carolina Department of Commerce | NC Main to Main Trail Program: The trail is a community economic development initiative that will leverage the state’s natural assets with historic downtown neighborhoods that provide goods, services and amenities to attract and enhance the visitor experience and regional connectivity.

In 2019, North Carolina’s tourism industry contributed over $29 billion to the state’s economy and 11% of the workforce. While visitor spending fell 32% as a result of the pandemic, visitors to North Carolina state parks increased by 1.2 million people compared to 2019.