In 2020, the NC State Park system received a record 19.8 million visitors. This increased visitation rate meant the system supported 1.2 million more visitors than in 2019 and 400,000 more than 2017, the previous record year. Although the record-high visitation in 2020 is largely attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, which made outdoor recreation a safer and more appealing alternative compared to indoor activities, historic long-term trends show an increase in visitation to parks and outdoor areas in the state of North Carolina as well as around the country. Therefore, the NC State Parks system can likely expect a continued rise in visitation, which will require additional resources to support such visitation. Identifying and understanding potential funding options that can help support growing demands and prepare the NC State Park system for this eventuality are needed. Equity is another pressing issue for the system. Although there is increasing demand, it is necessary to acknowledge some communities in North Carolina have been historically underserved by the NC State Parks. Identifying barriers and opportunities related to park visitation can help state park managers develop strategies for more equitable park access. To continue to be relevant to future generations, it is essential that the NC State Park system foster inclusion and provide recreation opportunities for all residents of North Carolina. In sum, due to the increase in demand on the NC State Parks system resources as well as the need for more inclusive and equitable park usage for all North Carolina residents, the goal of this study is to identify pricing strategies that will support demand, promote more equitable use of NC State Parks, and contribute to more sustainable park management. This goal will be achieved through the following objectives set forth by the NC State Parks: 1. Review existing funding mechanisms and pricing strategies for other state and national recreational areas to identify a variety of options for valuing services (e.g., amenities, facilities, campground reservations, permitting fees); 2. Discern barriers to communities that have historically been underserved by the NC State Parks system, the role pricing strategies can play in limiting future use of NC State Parks by these communities, and opportunities for the parks system to be more inclusive and equitable to all North Carolina residents; 3. Identify locations and dates of high/low visitation activity to inform dynamic pricing strategies, to help reduce crowding, and to identify less visited parks that may benefit from promotion; and, 4. Establish stakeholder perceptions of pricing strategies and feasibility of application for the NC State Park system.
Seafood producers regularly face tremendous disruption, and yet the industry still has much potential to be realized with regards to revenue streams and public awareness. The majority of seafood consumers have little knowledge of product origin and seafood production practices despite their interest in supporting domestic and local producers. If seafood producers can leverage connections with the food and agriculture tourism economy, they will be better poised for sustained growth, or at least, stability. Tourism is the largest ocean economy sector by jobs and GDP in North Carolina and a significant job creator. This project will provide training, marketing assistance, and network building for N.C. commercial fishers and marine aquaculture producers who are wading into the tourism sector.
North Carolina (NC) ranks third for net migration of retirement age adults in the US meaning nearly 20,000 people 60 years or older moved to NC in 2019 . In 2021, places in NC including Asheville , Charlotte , Raleigh/Durham2, and Winston-Salem3 were identified as some of the best places to retire in the US further proving the attractiveness of NC as a retirement destination. And this recognition is happening all as the rate of US retirement has been increasing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic . With the considerable potential for retireesâ€™ to contribute to the stateâ€™s economy and communities it is necessary to understand the factors that drive their decision to retire to NC. Furthermore, a more robust knowledge of how to assess the economic impact of retirees will provide the tools to illustrate one aspect of retireesâ€™ contributions to the state, its counties, and local communities. This study aims to fill these gaps by creating a profile of NC retirees, their motivations to retire to NC, and the influence of travel to the state as a driver in their retirement location decision. To enable future efforts to measure the economic impact of retirees this study will also identify processes for assessing the economic impact of retireesâ€™ â€“ including their travels while deciding on a retirement location and once they settle in a new community. The outcomes of this work will help inform North Carolina communitiesâ€™ efforts to attract and support retirees.
On September 6th, 2019 Hurricane Dorian made landfall on North CarolinaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Outer Banks, causing historic flooding and widespread damage across tourism-dependent barrier island communities. Two communities, Ocracoke and Hatteras islands, were among the hardest hit. As Hurricane Dorian recovery efforts began, the COVID-19 pandemic substantially altered recovery within the tourism sector. Fragile, outdated infrastructure and limited access policies disrupted supply chains and workforce availability, significantly lengthening recovery efforts well into the 2020 hurricane season. Once access was restored, the tourism industry in Hatteras and Ocracoke boomed with visitors seeking a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œsafeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â escape from the pandemic, even while business owners were struggling to rebuild and housing shortages continued. The compounding crises of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the decisions within the tourism industry in Hatteras and Ocracoke. Through an NSF-funded project ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œRAPID: Disaster recovery decision making in remote tourism dependent communitiesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â the research team uncovered pathways of near-term decision making and integrating these decisions within a broader network of actors establishing a baseline for understanding disaster recovery in remote tourism-dependent communities. Through this research the need for a centralized location to integrate information sources and recovery resources, facilitate sharing of capacity strengths and weaknesses, and foster learning and partnerships among tourism-dependent coastal communities. This proposed project seeks to define inter-community, region-specific components (e.g., resources, information pathways, community interactions, and knowledge brokers) needed to create a virtual community-based disaster preparedness hub. The objectives of this project are designed to build upon the data from the NSF-funded project, by identifying existing community-based planning resources, hosting community focus groups to prioritize resources and actions the community members are willing to take, analyze the feedback from the focus groups, and develop a blueprint for a virtual community-based disaster preparedness hub. This process will identify the infrastructure and management foundations needed to establish and sustain the hub as well as how tourism-dependent community stakeholders would contribute to and utilize a virtual community-based disaster preparedness hub could advance knowledge and practice of resilience strategy development and planning efforts in coastal community contexts.