Survey to aid local tourism, travel industry

May. 09, 2013 @ 04:00 PM

A recent Awareness, Attitudes and Usage study for Chapel Hill and Orange County found that most visitors link the area to creativity, youth, culture, trend setting and good food.
But it also found that the varied entertainment activities available are under-promoted.
“We need to do a better job about getting the word out about everything there is to do here,” said Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.
The Visitors Bureau released the findings of the study last week at the start of National Travel and Tourism Week, which concludes today.
“Our goal was to gather baseline data regarding awareness, perceptions, past visitation and potential visitation (for business and pleasure) among North Carolinians living outside Chapel Hill/Orange County,” said Paolicelli. “These findings and insights from more than 400 respondents will prove beneficial for our upcoming campaigns and destination marketing efforts to drive more visitation and spending across the county.”
Of the 400 visitors who responded to the survey, 64 percent said they would likely to visit the area in the future, citing business travel, a desire to explore the area, dinning, accommodations and activities.
Those who said they would not return said it is due to the area’s close ties to UNC, lack of information regarding entertainment options and the expense and crowds.
Also, 64 percent of respondents indicated that the would recommend the area to someone else based on a large range of entertainment options, unique experiences and Chapel Hill’s small town charm.
But those who said they would not recommend the area cited its reputation for liberal politics, its focus on the university, a lack of information about entertainment activities and more interesting destinations in the state. 
According to statistics released by the U.S. Travel Association, spending by domestic travelers to Chapel Hill and Orange County topped $156 million during 2011, which generated $11.6 million in state and local tax revenues.
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, who proclaimed May 4-12 Travel and Tourism Week, said travel and tourism is vital to the economic stability and growth of Chapel Hill and Orange County.