In 2007, North Carolina tourism generated more than $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenues.
Interest by a growing segment of travelers in sustainable tourism destinations is growing. More and more communities see tourism as a source of economic development. With travel trends rapidly going “green,” ECU recognizes that solid expertise will be in demand to facilitate sustainable tourism practices and development in other areas. A partnership between the Office of Innovation and Economic Development, the Center for Sustainable Tourism and the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development has resulted in a statewide outreach coordinator position to help support and promote sustainability in across North Carolina’s tourism industry. The outreach coordinator, Alex Naar, works with professional tourism groups, state and government-owned tourism attractions, local tourism organizations, and tourism-related non-profit. Together, they hope to find practical and applicable solutions to industry problems created by rising energy prices and adverse weather and climate patterns as well as other obstacles in implementing sustainable practices. Today’s savvy travelers favor businesses that minimize pollution, energy consumption or water usage and work to preserve the cultural and natural landscape. ECU’s sustainable tourism outreach efforts will help preserve and protect natural resources while providing economic opportunity for communities and businesses.