Hatteras Island's High Impact on North Carolina's Economy

A new study on the flow of tourism dollars in and out of seven Outer Banks communities is beefing up previous estimates of Hatteras Island’s economic impact on North Carolina. The Hatteras Island Impact Assessment, funded by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, is a detailed exploration of how and how much the island’s seven villages (Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras Village) contribute to Dare County and North Carolina.

“Our goal with the study was simply to equip the public and our lawmakers with the facts. The seven villages of Hatteras Island make up roughly a quarter of our tourism business in Dare County, generating $204 million dollars in expenditures, and contributing almost $20 million in state and local taxes in 2011 alone. Considering that most of the Island’s visitation is from out-of-state, these tax dollars are new to NC; this is true economic development,” states Lee Nettles, Executive Director of the Outer Banks Visitor Bureau.

With close to 700 businesses located on Hatteras Island, the tourism industry on the island has employed 2,618 jobs for a total payroll of $41 million in 2011. The brand value of Hatteras Island’s iconic images and experiences has estimated to $35 million dollars, making it roughly a third of the overall “Outer Banks” brand value of $100 million. “The financial date in this study grabs your attention, but the real story is how these seven small villages, with just over 4,300 year-round residents, are able to attract millions of visitors annually. Clearly, this is a special place. It has international appeal and tangible value to each North Carolina resident. We all benefit from a prosperous Hatteras Island,” says Nettles.

Hatteras Island compromises the southern half of Dare County, otherwise none as The Outer Banks. Dare County ranks 4th among the state’s 100 counties in terms of tourism expenditures, however on a per capita basis; Dare’s visitor sending outpaces the state’s leading counties by more than 5 to 1.

If you have questions about the study, or would like to contact the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, you can call 252-473-2138 or email information@outerbanks.org. The Hatteras Island Economic Impact Assessment is available to the public online at OuterBanks.org.


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