Oversees Visitors

Overseas Visitors

In 2017, North Carolina attracted nearly 900,000 international visitors who spent an estimated $1.1 billion in the state. Canada, the U.K. and Germany were the state’s top countries of origin for visitor volume. Other top countries of origin were China, Mexico, India, Japan, France, Brazil and Australia.

North Carolina’s Top 15 International Markets by Market Share (Ranked by Visitors)

Rank Country of Origin 2017 Est. Visitors % Change from 2016 2017 Total Spent % Change from 2016 Avg Spending per Visitor
1 Canada 388,500 +5.3% $217m -1.4% $559
2 United Kingdom 76,200 +2.0% $128m +1.4% $1,680
3 Germany 50,600 +8.6% $74m +7.9% $1,462
4 China 36,300 +9.2% $102m +6.9% $2,810
5 Mexico 24,900 -3.6% $12m -1.6% $482
6 India 24,700 +2.6% $57m -3.2% $2,308
7 Japan 20,300 +1.7% $41m -5.6% $2,020
8 France 17,100 -3.9% $22m -3.6% $1,236
9 Brazil 13,700 -0.3% $33m -0.7% $2,409
10 Australia 12,300 +5.0% $23m +4.5% $1,870
11 South Korea 11,000 +12.2% $24m +5.3% $2,182
12 Spain 10,200 +6.3% $11m +4.9% $1,078
13 Italy 10,200 +5.2% $14m -1.4% $1,373
14 Sweden 8,400 +5.0% $10m +5.3% $1,190
15 Ireland 6,800 +4.6% $9m +4.7% $1,324
16 Denmark 5,800 -1.7% $14m 0.0% $2,414
Total 863,200 +5.1% $1.1b +3.4% $1,274

*Tourism Economics, 2018

U.K. and Ireland

The U.K./Ireland is the top overseas market to North Carolina. The state is served directly as follows:

Sales & Marketing Accomplishments

In addition to Visit North Carolina’s co-op marketing with key tour operators in the U.K., Visit North Carolina teamed with tour operator specialist America As You Like It on a co-op that featured NC:


Co-op Marketing was carried out with a number of operators across all distribution channels and included activities with:

Summary of U.K. Meetings and Trainings

Trade Shows

Consumer Shows

Sales Missions

Visit North Carolina was part of a Tri-State Sales Mission with Georgia and South Carolina to the U.K. which took place in July 2017. Meetings, trainings and events were scheduled with key operators in and around London and the home counties.

Visit USA Associations in the U.K. and in Ireland

Familiarization Tour

The post IPW FAM took place in June and incorporated a different dynamic for the arrangements by including Amtrak from Washington to Rocky Mount where we transferred the guests to the Outer Banks. The group included U.K. tour operators, a specialist vacation homes receptive and a travel trade journalist.

The itinerary gave all attendees the opportunity to see coastal and urban North Carolina and to experience different aspects of the state. Throughout the trip participants were impressed with the natural beauty of NC, the laid-back atmosphere, easy access to iconic American experiences, the sophistication of the food scene and urban areas.

New Product

North Carolina U.K. and Ireland operators have increased product across the U.K. & Ireland Tour Operators, and this includes a new tour from SAGA Holidays.

The opportunity for U.K. operators to promote and sell villa / home rentals on the Outer Banks to U.K. consumers came to fruition and this was heavily promoted in 2017. Additionally, this was further enhanced to also include self-catering product in both Raleigh and Charlotte.

U.K. Public Relations Results


Sales and Marketing Accomplishments

Visit North Carolina conducted cooperative marketing with different tour operators, consumer campaigns, as well as trainings and sales calls throughout Germany and Switzerland.


VUSA Switzerland: On behalf of Visit North Carolina we participated in the VUSA Switzerland roadshow from September 25 – 29, 2017 (we trained 250 travel agents in total on North Carolina).

Lonely Planet Campaign

Visit North Carolina conducted an online marketing campaign for consumers on Lonely Planet.de partnering with Explorer Fernreisen as the call to action partner. LP created extensive content for users on the website, users filled in a questionnaire and received a personalized North Carolina itinerary based on their answers. Explorer created five new NC itineraries for the campaign.



In cooperation with South Carolina and Georgia, Visit North Carolina did an online campaign called “100%-online campaign:” a dedicated microsite with different modules plus social media activities and newsletter inclusion in February 2017.



Visit North Carolina conducted an Out of Home campaign with Canusa Touristik where 150 metro posters with an NC image were displayed throughout Munich for two months.


Sales Mission

November 2017 – Accomplished trainings for tour operators and travel agents as well as sales meetings in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Zurich. Conducted a small after-work media event in Zurich.

Consumer & Travel Trade Shows

German Public Relations Results

Social Media Results

Facebook: Reached 81,764 with 4.445 engagements

Other International News

Visit North Carolina and other statewide partners attended the Travel South International Showcase in Charleston, SC. Nearly 100 international tour operators from 12 countries met with North Carolina CVBs, attractions and hotels to increase interest in international visitation to North Carolina.

Visit NC hosted three post FAMs for tour operators, including the Chinese-only FAM.

Through a partnership with Travel South USA, Visit North Carolina has also been able to cost-effectively secure limited PR and marketing representation in France, Italy, Benelux and China.


Visit North Carolina hosted a double North Carolina booth at the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW in Washington, D.C. Visit Charlotte, Explore Asheville, Biltmore and Outer Banks Visitors Bureau joined the state in more than 85 trade and media appointments. Following the tradeshow Visit NC along with partners in the Outer Banks hosted three tour operators and a journalist for a familiarization tour.

PGA Familiarization Tour

Visit NC and South Carolina Dept of Parks, Recreation and Tourism held a joint familiarization tour around the PGA in Charlotte. Nineteen tour operators and journalists from five countries visited Pinehurst Resort, Gaston Country Club and Ballantyne along with attending the PGA.

WeChat in China

Visit North Carolina has a weekly post on WeChat in China.

Brand USA Co-op Marketing Programs

By leveraging our marketing dollars with Brand USA, we can have an impact in several international markets. We get the power of three times our promotional dollars to increase awareness to potential visitors.

In 2016 we participated in the following programs: