The benefits of tourism in North Carolina are very apparent:
But the costs of tourism are less clear. Standard population measures don’t necessarily account for populations that ebb and flow — as they tend to do in resort and beach towns. The North Carolina Association of Resort Towns and Convention Cities wanted to better understand some of the unique planning challenges their constituents faced, including:
They asked Carolina Demography to identify and analyze data to better understand the experiences of highly visited, smaller communities throughout the state.
We looked at three locations:
While these locations vary significantly in size and the characteristics of their parent county, they share one major factor in common: they each have economics significantly impacted by tourism.
We collected data from a variety of sources, looking at factors like emergency services usage, water demands, housing, local employment, and local expenditures and investments. We also interviewed people who worked in these locations.
“The mis-aligned value system among seasonal residents, [tourists], local workforce, vacation property owners, merchants, local government, and membership organizations can create quite difficult dynamics to manage.” – Kent Graham, Fire Chief of Blowing Rock
Our research made clear that you can’t look at the benefits of tourism without also accounting for the cost of infrastructure — and that it is a difficult dynamic to manage. The results were presented in both a report and presentation, which the North Carolina Association of Resort Towns and Convention Cities used to determine better ways to support their constituents.
North Carolina Association of Resort Towns and Convention Cities
To determine the costs associated with seasonal populations
Dr. Michael Cline is the state demographer for North Carolina at the Office of State Budget and Management and has given us permission to re-post his content here. Each year, he publishes population estimates and projections for North Carolina and…
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