Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Durham Celebrates 25 Years of Success as a Visitor Destination

“That’s billions – with a B,” said Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) President and CEO, Shelly Green referring to visitor dollars spent in Durham over that last 25 years. Since 1990, when the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) started tracking metrics, 124 million visitors have experienced Durham and they spent $12.9 billion in Durham’s economy. The growth over that period, according to Green, is “pretty remarkable.”

The last four years coming out of the recession have seen steady growth. “Given the resources available, I am extremely proud of all that Durham has accomplished. The DCVB team is really skilled at spinning gold from hay,” Green said referring to Durham’s visitor growth measured against its investment promoting the destination.

DCVB benchmarks metrics annually that paint a picture of Durham’s performance as a visitor destination. The numbers are estimates for the past 25 years in total.
  • $24 Million Visitors to Durham
  • $12.9 Billion Spending by Durham Visitors
  • $139 Million Occupancy Taxes Collected 
  • $578 Million Local Tax Revenue Generated by Visitors
  • 14.7 Million Visitor Inquiries Generated
  • 15,764 Conventions and Groups Serviced
  • 102,905 Conventions and Meetings Held in Durham
  • 3.5 Million Convention and Meeting Attendees
  • 5,149,485 Hotel Room Nights Used by Conventions and Meetings
  • 1,172,662 Hotel Room Nights Booked by DCVB 
  • 21,833 DCVB-Assisted Stories in the Media 
These statistics become more meaningful when considered in the context of real examples of praise and accomplishments earned by the community. Durham consistently ranks highly on measurements of quality of life, business climate, education, healthcare, and more. Fueled by its ranking as the number one retirement destination in the US and its title as Tastiest Town in the South, as well as the combination of diverse population and an engaged and welcoming community, Durham’s pattern of growth looks assured. A searchable database of Durham’s accolades is online here.

“Durham is successful because it is a great community that prides itself on things like authenticity and being genuine. These things matter more and more to visitors and residents alike, and we are now benefitting from that trend,” Green said. “To look back on the last 25 years at today’s Annual Tribute Luncheon has been a tangible validation of our work at DCVB, and of the community we represent. I couldn’t be more proud.”

A video shown at the luncheon traced DCVB’s inception back to 1982 when discussions of the need for a destination marketing organization dedicated to Durham were first chronicled in municipal and economic development circles. Legislation in 1986 permitted the collection of an occupancy tax on hotel room sales beginning in 1989 when DCVB started out with a modest office in Brightleaf Square.  Included in the video were former board and staff members as well as President Emeritus Reyn Bowman who ran DCVB from its inception in 1989 through 2009 when Green took the helm.   Watch the 25 year retrospective video online here.

The Annual Tribute Luncheon is produced by DCVB to celebrate Durham’s unique sense of place. Former honorees include Pastor Shirley Caesar, Dr. John Hope Franklin, Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Durham festivals, and acclaimed Durham chefs, among others.

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