Mid-Atlantic
via Greater Wilmington Business Journal

NC - Room Occupancy Tax Number 'a Bit Surprising' That It Wasn't Worse

The room occupancy tax total in New Hanover County fell 14.5% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to local tourism officials.

That’s a decrease from about $15.5 million in 2019 to $13.2 million last year.

Accommodations in New Hanover County, including hotels, motels, inns, room rentals, tourist camps or other short-term rentals, are subject to the county's 6% ROT rate.

“Experiencing a decline in room occupancy tax during a pandemic is not a surprise due to phased travel restrictions and gathering limitations that have been in place since March,” said Kim Hufham, president and CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, in an email. “It is actually a bit surprising that the decline in ROT was not greater.

"On the coast, we have an advantage of being perceived as being safer than urban destinations because of our beaches and outdoor parks, gardens, Riverwalk and outdoor dining options.”

Those in the industry remain optimistic about 2021.

“Things are still slow but I’m seeing some positive indicators in the market that things are starting to ramp up,” said Zach Brigman, general manager of Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront, on Tuesday.

The holiday weekend seemed to help rather than hurt area hotels.

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