(Paul Chesser, Liberty Headlines) Despite a fake news media narrative, which lasted nearly all of 2016 and alleged the so-called “transgender bathroom” bill would be an economy-killer and cause people to avoid visiting North Carolina, statistics show the state set a new record last year for the tourism industry.
In fact, according to NC Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland, the amount of visitor spending blew out the record that was set in 2015. Tourism-generated dollars for 2016 totaled $22.9 billion, an increase of 4.3 percent over the previous year.
“Nearly 50 million people from across the United States visited North Carolina destinations last year,” Copeland said in a press release. “The money they spent supported 218,340 jobs and more than 45,000 businesses.”
The new evidence shows that the dire predictions — by left-wing activists, Democrat politicians and liberal media outlets — of economic wreckage to be inflicted upon North Carolina, were false prophecies.
Citizens of the Tar Heel State were subject to endless whining and woe from pro-LGBT radicals and their allies, all because of the House Bill 2 (HB2) law that was passed in March 2016. The NC statute, since repealed this year, protected women and children in public and business restrooms and dressing facilities from the threat of men using an easy excuse to walk in on them, because they could have legally “identified” as female under a dangerous Charlotte ordinance.
High-profile businesses (like Deutsche Bank, PayPal), sports organizations (like the NBA, NCAA, ACC) and celebrities (like Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr) boycotted the state because of HB2. Media reports acted like it was the end of the world for reasons such as the University of Vermont women’s basketball team cancelling a game against UNC and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson planning his wedding elsewhere.
Meanwhile, other than agitated Leftists inside and outside the state, most other North Carolinians shrugged while HB2 was law.
And obviously plenty of outsiders were undeterred from visiting the state in 2016. Among the other tourism statistics provided by Copeland this week:
• Visitors to North Carolina generated about $3.6 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2016. That total represents a 4.8 percent increase from 2015.
• State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 5.2 percent to nearly $1.2 billion in 2016.
• Local tax receipts from visitor spending grew 4.8 percent to $692.8 million.
• Direct tourism employment in North Carolina increased 3.2 percent to 218,340.
• Direct tourism payroll increased 5.9 percent to nearly $5.6 billion.
• Visitors spend more than $62.7 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $5.14 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.2 million in state taxes and $1.9 million in local taxes).
• Each North Carolina household saves $497 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.
The report from the Commerce Secretary did not specify whether the increase in tourism to North Carolina was because more visitors felt safer coming to the state because HB2 was law.