Onslow County saw the biggest percentage increase in tourism in the entire state last year, with a 8.3% hike.
The county says visitors spent $172 million in 2008. The travel and tourism directly employs more than 16,000 people in Onslow County and generates $34.5 million in payroll.
Statewide $16.9 billion was spent on tourism in 2008, an increase of 2.1% from 2007.
"Economic Impact is a by-product of having a clear mission and vision. We have consistently shown our commitment to excellence by focusing on hospitality, military families, and local North Carolinians. Today's numbers give us the validation that we have chosen the right path for tourism in Onslow County," said Theresa Carter, who is the county's tourism manager.