Avon Beach in May 2022. Photo by Avon Fishing Pier.

From Wobx.com

Driven, in part, by price increases caused by inflation, occupancy and meals collections in Dare County both grew by almost four percent in August and retail sales in July were up nearly three percent.

That follows new all-time monthly highs set in July for gross collections at hotels/motels and vacation rentals and restaurants.

“We continue to see some softening of business, even though the numbers are kind of hanging in there for the time being,” said Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles.

“We saw a drop of occupancy collections in Hatteras Island, while (the northern beaches and Roanoke Island/mainland) were up,” Nettles said. “On the meals side, all three geographic areas were up.”

The figures presented at the Dare County Tourism Board’s October meeting show lodgers collected a total of $148.05 million in August, a 3.79 percent increase from last year ($142.6 million). The all-time record for August was set in 2021 of $158.2 million.

“We did experience drops across all lodging segments…with the exception of the property management companies,” Nettles said.

Total occupancy income for the year now stands at $678.6 million, growing by 1.5 percent from 2022 when $668.7 million had been collected during the first eight months of 2022.

Prepared meals sales grew by 3.64 percent for August, with a new record for the month of $54.4 million breaking the previous mark set last year of $52.5 million.

Year-to-date totals through August were up by 7.98 percent, increasing from $270.8 million in 2022 to $283.8 million in 2023.

Gross retail sales in July set a record for the month of $15.9 million, 2.7 percent ahead of the previous mark set last year ($15.5 million). Retailers have brought in a combined $56.8 million in 2023, 1.3 percent over 2022’s year-to-date total of $56.1 million.

Also at their October 19 meeting, the Dare County Tourism Board gave their recommendation to award Tourism Impact Grants to 15 projects totaling almost $1.6 million that are funded by the occupancy tax.

That includes $400,000 to help fund a multi-use path in Kitty Hawk along the westside of U.S. 158 that will stretch from the Kill Devil Hills town line to the Shoreside Shopping Center (Walmart).

Other grant recommendations include for the Town of Southern Shores to construct a path along a portion of the westside of N.C. 12, two sidewalks and accesibile beach accesss in Nags Head, accesibile showers and bathrooms at the former Cape Hatteras Lighthouse site, restoration work at the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station in Rodanthe, a pathway at The Elizabethan Gardens, a trail at the Frisco Native American Museum, a new exhibit at the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island, improvements to performance space at Duck Town Park, educational signs for the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles, a community terrace at the Outer Banks Center for Nonprofits, a raised loading dock at Roanoke Island Festival Park, and an inclusive playground at Kitty Hawk Elementary School.

The grants are pending final approval by the Dare County Board of Commissioners. Click to learn more about the projects [pdf].

The post Dare occupancy and meals income up nearly four percent in August; July retail sales jump almost three points appeared first on Island Free Press.

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