Every year millions of people travel long and far to get a piece of the North Carolina experience. The Carolina culture has deep roots in vinegar based BBQ, cotton and tobacco production, and more recently, is becoming a center for research and industry. The great Tar Heel state is home to highly esteemed universities, beautiful mountains, charming cities, and the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast. Tourism in North Carolina has been on the rise and continues to flourish.
According to a 2013 study prepared for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film, and Sports Development, domestic and international travelers spent almost $21.0 billion on transportation, lodging, food, entertainment, recreation, and retail trade. This is an increase compared to previous years, 2014’s forecast projected even higher. North Carolina is home to many great places to visit including the Biltmore Estate, Blue Ridge Parkway, Old Salem, historic lighthouses, and over 300 miles of incredible beaches. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, North Carolina’s capital city, Raleigh, has continually been rated as one of the best cities to live in.
On a local level, Wilmington and the surrounding area offers an array of attractions from Screen Gem Studio tours to eating lunch on the pier at the Oceanic. Recently, US Today ranked Wilmington as the Best American Riverfront due to the amount of cafes, bars, and shops as well as close proximity to many historic museums and landmarks including the USS North Carolina. According to the Attraction-Selection-Attrition framework, “the people make the place.” The people of North Carolina bring charm to the state and create a large part of the culture. As a student of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, I am proud to call this amazing place home. Wilmington and the state of North Carolina exemplify southern hospitality, good eats, and a rich culture. So, what’s your favorite part about North Carolina?
– Anderson McNaull