More than 14 million people visited the Raleigh area in 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A record-breaking 14.3 million domestic travelers visited the Raleigh area in 2014, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reports.

These visitors contributed $2.2 billion in direct spending to the local economy, the GRCVB reports.

Tourism to the capital city area generated more than $219 million in state and local sales tax revenues last year, according to D.K. Shifflet & Associates and Tourism Economics, which was contracted to tabulate the statistics.

The statistics show that Wake County set records across all key performance indicators throughout 2014, including an average hotel occupancy rate of 67.9 percent (a year-over-year increase of 6.7 percent), as well as a 5.5-percent year-over-year increase in area hotels’ average daily rate (to $91.31). Lodging tax collections totaled $20.26 million, up 13 percent year-over-year, and prepared food and beverage collections rose nine percent in 2014, amounting to $23 million.

“To have another record-breaking year for tourism in Wake County is phenomenal, and I can’t foresee any slowdown in the near future,” said Denny Edwards, president and CEO of the GRCVB. “Numbers like these only prove that tourism is a huge economic driver in our community.”

In addition to leisure visitors, those included in the figures are business travelers, meeting and convention delegates, day-trippers, families on weekend getaways and people visiting the area for specific reasons ranging from shopping to health care to sporting events.

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