WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

An invitation from North Carolina’s coast

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The holidays are a special time for families in North Carolina to gather and look ahead to the New Year with anticipation and enthusiasm. It’s also a time when we reflect on the past year, including memorable highlights and challenges.

As North Carolinians, we have much to be thankful for, but many of our families, neighbors and communities in the paths of Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael were severely affected this fall. Collectively, we say thank you to so many of you for your support.

North Carolinians are resilient. From the beautiful coastline in the east to the towering mountains in the west, North Carolinians are known for strong comebacks and moving forward. As leaders of the travel industry along the coast, we want to assure you that significant progress has been made to make sure visitors can return to the coastal places they love.

Our out-of-state visitors are special guests to us all, but many of them who heard the national news during the storms are unaware of how far we’ve come since. We’ve learned from recent research conducted by Visit North Carolina that only 14 percent of potential out-of-state visitors believe North Carolina’s coast is back to normal. Even some North Carolinians are unaware of how far we’ve come. In most instances, our hotels, vacation rentals, attractions, recreational outfitters, restaurants, retail shops, golf courses and more are already welcoming visitors back, and others will certainly be back to normal in time for the popular spring and summer travel seasons.

We recognize many North Carolinians dedicate a portion of their time together during the holidays to begin planning family vacations for the coming year. The tourism economy is vital to our region, our citizens and the quality of life we all cherish. The speed of our recovery is largely dependent on the pace with which travelers return to visit our communities throughout the state.

We encourage you to plan a visit to North Carolina’s beautiful and distinctive barrier island coastline to enjoy what many families make an annual tradition. And with our state’s rich diversity of landscapes, history, culture and activities, please consider exploring North Carolina first for all your leisure travel.

We look forward to welcoming you soon.

Tameron Kugler

VisitCurrituck.com

Lee Nettles

OuterBanks.org

Helena Stevens

VisitOcracokeNC.com

Jim Browder

CrystalCoastNC.org

Donna Hammonds

OnlyInOnslow.com

Tammy Proctor

VisitPender.com

Tarshi McCoy

VisitNewBern.com

Kim Hufham

WilmingtonAndBeaches.com

Mitzi York

NCBrunswick.com

Wit Tuttell

VisitNC.com

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