From Tom Murray, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, on behalf of the CRVA team:
This weekend the Charlotte Observer began a series about the citys investment in the Charlotte Convention Center. As an arm of the local government, we welcome public scrutiny of our business and have provided thousands of documents to assist the Observer with its research. However, we believe these articles do not fully explain the importance of the tourism and convention industry to our community. We are disappointed and feel these stories failed to present the full picture.
It should be acknowledged that in 2011 alone the tourism industry in Mecklenburg County delivered paychecks of $1.3 billion that went to 43,260 members of our community who make their livelihoods in the tourism industry. Thanks to their hard work, the industry in Mecklenburg County generated $4.1 billion in expenditures, a 10.5 percent increase from last year, and $302 million in state and local taxes. This represents a $320 tax savings to each county resident.
Mecklenburg County accounts for more than twice as much tourism business as any other county in North Carolina, the sixth most visited state in the country. These are state-endorsed results that were released this month by Gov. Bev Perdue. And these results are why our city leaders support this industry.
We have always been aware that our convention center is only one of the many reasons why the Charlotte region has a successful tourism industry. We acknowledge the performance of our business has room to improve, and we are working to make it a reality. As the article points out, every major city invests heavily in this highly competitive business. Like us, those cities clearly view their convention center as a key component to their tourism success and the success of their communities.
We think this information is also valuable context, especially with the citys biggest ever convention on deck.