Local employees of tourism get special attention

Published on : Monday, May 17, 2021

Visit Hickory Metro, the tourism organization for Catawba County, drew attention to the employees of local tourism during National Travel and Tourism Week, from May 2nd till 8th. Tourism employees got special mention on various print media, talk radio and all of Visit Hickory Metro social media platforms.

This year, National Travel and Tourism Week identified travel sector’s power and the role of it in attracting the vibrant communities back, re-establishing the U.S. economy, rebuilding the workforce and reconnecting America. Visit Hickory Metro followed the same theme. It joined on focusing attention and thanking the employees of tourism in the community.

To quote Hickory Metro Convention Center & Visitors Center CEO, Mandy Pitts Hildebrand, “It has been an extremely challenging year in the travel and tourism industry due to the pandemic, but visitors are returning to our community, which is a positive sign because when visitors return, they spend money in our community, which helps businesses and the community as a whole. Due to the pandemic year, it is hard to know exactly how many tourism employees are working in the county, but the last count was about 2,500 people, and those employees could be working at the convention center or for one of the many hotels in our community or selling tickets at LP Frans Stadium or Hickory Motor Speedway, serving a meal at a local restaurant or assisting a customer at the Hickory Furniture Mart.”

For dozens of reasons, travelers come to the Hickory Metro, starting right from business purposes to leisure to sports. Several large sporting events in May will bring visitors to Hickory Metro, including a soccer tournament with 40-plus teams, the Lady Bass Anglers Association (LBAA), national bass fishing tournament, and a basketball tournament with 80-plus teams and, of course, professional racing and baseball are in full swing this month.

“Every local tourism employee is valuable, and tourism is a major economic driver in our community,” added Hildebrand. “The travel and tourism industry is growing, and employees may start off thinking it is just a job, but that job can easily become a prosperous and fun career in hospitality.”

The last figures reported by North Carolina, in 2019 there were 2,510 people in Catawba County who were employed directly in the travel and tourism industry.

In 2019, visitors spent more than $302 million in Catawba County.

In the county, there are 20 hotels and bed and breakfasts approximately and that doesn’t include registered Airbnb and vacation rentals.

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