Published on : Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The $846 million spending symbolized 4.6 percent growth from 2015 even with 2016, off year in terms of biennial Black Theatre Festival.
According to Visit Winston-Salem, Forsyth attracts about 1 million annual visitors on average. The increase in local spending might have been better if not for the depressing impact on tourism spending from House Bill 2 — the disruptive transgender restroom law passed in March 23, 2016, which was effective until being canceled this year on March 30th.
According to the calculations of Visit Winston-Salem, HB2 cost would be $7 million lost in potential Forsyth travel and tourism spending in 2016.
To quote Marcheta Keefer, the agency’s marketing director, “we are pleased with these numbers in light of the challenges churned by some cancelled bookings and travel bans by other states, corporations and organizations due to HB2 legislation. We are looking forward to moving forward.”
To quote Richard Geiger, president of Visit Winston-Salem, “these latest numbers clearly demonstrate the importance of tourism as a strong economic driver in Forsyth County. Our on-going efforts to expand our reach and increase visitation are paying real dividends, and with the recently completed reinvention of the Benton Convention Center, we expect even greater results moving forward.”