Thursday, July 18, 2024

Autumn draws visitors to western NC

There is one undeniable fact when it comes to fall in western North Carolina: The views are breathtaking. Changing leaves and cooler weather attract visitors to the mountains to hike, catch a glimpse of wildlife and sip on local wine, craft beer and cider. It’s also a huge business boon for the state. Last year’s hotel room occupancy in September, October and November exceeded 70% in 13 mountain counties: Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, Swain and Transylvania. Visitors spent more than 1.1 million room nights at the region’s lodgings. Thousands of other visitors landed at homes through Airbnb and other short-term rental agencies.


Average number of nights overnight visitors spent in the region in 2017. Out-of-state visitors stayed an average of 4 nights, and in-state visitors stay an average of 2.5 nights.


Average trip expenditure in the mountain region in 2017. The average for overnight parties, averaging 2.1 people, was $789, and day-trip groups spent $518 per visit.


Visitors to North Carolina’s mountain region in 2017 with household income of more than $75,000


Average party size for all mountain region visitors. Twenty-five percent of all groups included children.

A variety of visitors
Where they came from

North Carolina 44.3%
Florida 9.2
Georgia 8.4
South Carolina 8.2
Tennessee 5.4
Virginia 3.4
Texas 3.2
Missouri 2
Ohio 1.7
Kentucky 1.6
Maryland 1.5
other 11.1

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Top Western N.C. tourist destinations*
(2017 attendance)

North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville, 494,532
Grandfather Mountain, Linville, 287,611
Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock, 253,715
Linville Caverns, Marion, 177,642
Cherokee Cultural Attractions, Cherokee, 161,146

*Asheville’s Biltmore no longer reports attendance totals.

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To see a PDF of the spread click here

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