Column: We invite you to return to NC's coast

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 impacted 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.

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