Friday, June 25, 2010

2009 - Visitors Up, Spending Down

During the recession-dominant 2009 calendar year, visitation to Durham by non-residents for purposes other than work or school continued its upward trend to well over six million visitors. But the economic downturn definitely had a sobering effect, shifting the balance of visitors to 84% daytrip and 16% overnight (including those using commercial lodging).

To put this into perspective, that means Durham reaped an additional 320,000 day visitors but lost 70,000 overnight visitors, on top of last year’s decline of 20,000 overnight visitors.
DCVB receives estimates of the number of visitors to Durham from D.K. Shifflet and Associates, one of the leading U.S. consumer travel research firms, based on data collected from over 60,000 households every month of the year.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

  • Visitation GREW by 4.4% in 2009 to 6.31 million.
  • The growth was driven totally by leisure travel, which grew by 9.2%, most of which was on the day trip side. Overnight leisure travel experienced a slight decline (-2.7%).
  • Business travel declined 6.2%, driven primarily by a 12.7% decline in overnight business travel.
  • Overall visitor spending in 2009 was down by 2.7% to $627.7 million.
  • More than 72% of all visitor spending in 2009 was attributed to leisure visitors, with 27.7% from business travelers. This is a stark difference from ten years ago when there was a split of 51% of visitor expenditures were from business travelers while 49% was from leisure visitors.

In comparison, in the United States:

  • Overall visitation declined 4.3% to 2.8 billion.
  • The decline was led by an 11.3% decline in business travel and a 1.9% decline in leisure travel.

In the 21 years, since Durham chartered DCVB to spearhead visitor centric cultural and economic development, the community has reaped more than $9.7 billion in spending, more than $400 million in local tax revenue to lighten the load on residents, and helped sustain $2.2 billion in capital investment.

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