A new study shows that visitor spending is up across North Carolina. The Triad area saw some big gains.

Recovery in visitor spending was felt statewide in 2021 compared to the previous year with all 100 counties seeing increases.

Overall, it's up 45 percent.

That's according to the report, commissioned by Visit NC. The research was conducted by the U.S. Travel Association in collaboration with Tourism Economics, a travel data company. 

Guilford County ranked fifth with more than $1.2 billion. Food and beverage spending was at the top, followed by transportation and lodging. 

Henry Fourrier, president of the Greensboro Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, says youth sports and outdoor activities also played a role in the county's standing. That includes soccer, track and field, basketball and USA swimming and diving competitions. 

“It seems the youth and their parents were continuing to compete and I think that's what kept us in the playing field, no pun intended, and also put us back on the map," says Fourrier.

Mecklenburg County came in the top spot for visitor spending with more than $4 billion.

Forsyth County ranked high on the list with more than $800 million.  

Stokes is also highlighted in the report. It was one of many counties that saw higher spending last year than it did in 2019, before the pandemic.

Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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