National Travel & Tourism Week Spotlights Faces of Tourism in Charlotte

May 8, 2017

National week-long celebration touts the vital importance of the tourism industry in the Charlotte region and U.S.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 8, 2017) – In collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association and destinations across the nation, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) is celebrating National Travel & Tourism Week (NTTW) through May 13, 2017. 

In 2015, the Charlotte region hosted approximately 26.8 million visitors annually,1 and tourism-related visitor spending exceeded $6.5 billion.2 The valuable economic impact produced by the industry positively impacts Charlotte year after year, employing one in nine people3 and creating opportunities that benefit the city’s quality of life and infrastructure. 

"The visitor economy in Charlotte has grown steadily since 2009,” says CRVA CEO Tom Murray. “We work hard to promote the region as a destination of choice for leisure and business travelers. But we couldn’t do it without the many people who work in the hospitality industry in our region. They are often the first impression for visitors, and their impact helps the visitor economy continue to thrive.”

The theme of this year’s NTTW, “Faces of Travel,” shines a spotlight on the people who make up America’s travel industry. The leisure and hospitality industry is the region’s fourth-largest employer.3 Across Charlotte, the industry is made up of a prosperous and diverse workforce, from airline and hotel employees to restaurant, attraction and retail workers, and supports related sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance. Restaurateurs Jamie Brown and Jeff Tonidandel are among those faces in the Charlotte community. Dining is one of the top activities for visitors when they explore the Queen City.1

“When a person comes to Charlotte, a big part of their experience is what they eat. Often, visitors are looking for a place that is a non-chain, independently owned restaurant. We are so proud to be able to fill that need and offer hospitality that gives guests a chance to really relish their dining experience at a one-location restaurant concept. Visitors bring a vibrancy to our town that allows us to share what’s unique about Charlotte with other people and cities. We’re a proud city, and we want others to get a chance to see what a wonderful place we are,” says Jamie Brown, co-owner of Crêpe Cellar Kitchen & Pub, Growlers Pourhouse and Haberdish.  

Additionally, research from the U.S. Travel Association and the CRVA highlights the impact of tourism both nationally and locally:

  • The U.S. travel industry supports 15.3 million American workers—8.6 million directly and 6.7 million indirectly.4
  • In Charlotte, tourism is the fourth-largest employer behind healthcare, government and professional services.2
  • Travel is one of the top-10 employers of American workers in 49 of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.4
  • In Charlotte, there are more than 124,000 jobs in the hospitality and leisure sector with visitor spending directly supporting 63,000 of those jobs. Without visitor spending, unemployment would more than double the current rate of 4.5 percent in Charlotte.2
  • Two in five (40 percent) American workers whose first job was in the travel industry are now earning more than $100,000 per year.4
  • Among workers who began their careers in the travel industry, 33 percent earned at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to just 28 percent in healthcare, 19 percent in construction and 18 percent in manufacturing.4
  • Direct travel spending in the U.S. totaled $990.3 billion by domestic and international travelers in 2016.4
  • Travel-related spending generated $157.8 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2016.4
  • Mecklenburg County residents save $349 in taxes each year because of tourism tax revenues.2

In addition to its benefits for the economy, travel can also have a positive effect on personal well-being for residents and visitors. Numerous research studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off, from reducing the risk of heart disease to decreasing depression. According to Project: Time Off, more than half (55 percent) of employees leave vacation days unused, creating a stockpile of 658 million unused days and $61.4 billion in forfeited benefits across the workforce. To help change this, Project: Time Off recommends that organizations, specifically their managers, support their employees taking time off and that employees plan their time off. Planning time off increases the likelihood of using vacation time and is also associated with increased happiness.

2016 tourism research findings for North Carolina, including the counties in the Charlotte region, are expected to come out later this summer. To learn more about tourism in the Charlotte region, visit  

12015 Travel USA Study by Longwoods International.
2The visitor spending figures come from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina and conducted by the U.S. Travel Association. The study uses sales and tax revenue data, employment figures, and other industry and economic data to determine the overall impact of visitor spending in North Carolina. Full tables can be accessed at The Charlotte region encompasses 10 counties total, seven in North Carolina and three in South Carolina, which are outlined in the Charlotte Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The South Carolina data included in the totals reflects 2014 research provided by South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (SCPRT). 
3U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
4Data from the U.S. Travel Association.

Download Charlotte images for National Travel & Tourism Week here.

About Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA)
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) works to ensure the visitors and events that choose Charlotte have a positive experience. Our responsibilities include destination marketing through Visit Charlotte and management of Charlotte’s public assembly facilities, which include the Charlotte Convention Center, Spectrum Center, Bojangles’ Coliseum, Ovens Auditorium and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. CRVA’s mission seeks to leverage its hospitality marketing and management expertise to maximize the impact of the Charlotte region’s economy, creating opportunities and jobs for the community.