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WNC Business

Tourism's economic impact

Mar 31, 2024 11:10AM ● By Randee Brown

According to Riverbird Research, the number of jobs in the region’s hospitality and tourism industry (Harvard Cluster Definition) increased over the five-year span between 2018 and 2023.

The 8% increase in the total number of industry jobs in an 18-county region of WNC outpaced the rate of growth for the entire state, which was 2%. The total number of WNC jobs supported by hospitality and tourism numbered 13,930 across 906 payrolled business locations, earning an average annual wage of $34,985. The overall concentration of industry jobs in WNC was twice the national average.

The highest concentration of these jobs occurred in Buncombe County which supported 6,621 of these jobs in 2023, distantly followed by Watauga County which supported 1,356 of these jobs.