Data shows 2016 record-setting year for North Carolina tourism

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CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - The tourism business continues to be a bright spot for North Carolina, with 2016 being a record-setting year.

Last year, North Carolina raked in $22.9 billion from visitor spending, up over 4% from 2015.

2016 also scored big for the state in the number of jobs the tourism industry supported, with a record setting 218,000.

At the local level, one coastal community said they saw their fair share of visitors, which has helped the area grow.

Officials with the Craven County Visitors Center say from the last reports issued, the county saw about a 5% growth in visitor spending over 2015, something they have continued to see for nearly a decade.

"Really, the tourism market here is one of our top economic drivers, last year alone visitor spending totaled in over $130 million and that's a big number, there's lots to do here, so the tourism market continues to grow," says Melissa Riggle with the visitors center.

They aren't the only ones in Eastern Carolina. While an official county breakdown of growth from tourism and visitor spending won't be released until August, officials along the Crystal Coast say they are also expecting to continue the upward trend they have seen over the past few years.