Overseas Visitors

In 2019, North Carolina attracted 920,535 international visitors who spent an estimated $1.2 billion in the state. Canada, the U.K. and Germany were the top countries of origin to the state in terms of visitor volume. Other top countries of origin were China, Mexico, India, Japan, France, Brazil and Australia.

While overseas visitation to the U.S. was down, North Carolina had an increase of 3.6%.

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

RankCountry of Origin2019 Estimated VisitorsPercent Change from 20182019 Estimated SpendingPercent Change from 2018Average Spending per Visitor
2United Kingdom84,4258.9%$141.6m5.5%$1,677
11South Korea11,45616.5%$24.9m9.7%$2,176

*Tourism Economics, 2020

U.K. and Ireland

Market Highlights:

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

Sales & Marketing Accomplishments

In partnership with tour operator, Kuoni, and neighboring states, Georgia and South Carolina, Visit NC was a contributing sponsor for Kuoni's Consumer Facing Campaign at their four festivals throughout the U.K. Total footfall for all shows was 455,000. These potential visitors received a tri-state dedicated American Roadtrip Brochure and saw videos displayed throughout the events.

Sales & Marketing Co-ops

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

Trade Shows

Consumer Shows

Sales Missions

Following the Brand USA Week Visit NC hosted 18 key travel partners at the Goodwood Revival Festival.

In October, Visit NC and Visit Charlotte teamed with Brand USA to be a sponsor at the Carolina Panther game in London. We hosted 16 trade/media partners for the event.

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

Brand USA Multichannel Results

Visit NC partnered with Brand USA to leverage awareness in the U.K. market with their Multichannel Campaign. Through print and digital channels North Carolina was featured for six weeks. Results during that time were three million impressions, 1,503 room nights booked, and 202 flights generating $181,000.

U.K. Public Relations Results:


Market Highlights:

Sales and Marketing Accomplishments

America Unlimited

Worked with tour operator, America Unlimited, to produce a high-resolution video and promote through social media to their 160,000 subscribers. Results saw a 30% increase in bookings during the promotion period. It generated 101,819 views on You Tube and 145,604 views on Facebook.


Visit NC participated in Visit USA roadshows in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, training more than 250 travel agents in total on North Carolina's travel assets.

Mustang Campaign

Visit NC teamed with denim jean maker, Mustang, to introduce North Carolina to Mustang jean customers at 50 top point-of-sale retailers in key cities. A microsite, video and social campaign were created that promoted North Carolina as well as their products. The campaign lasted for six weeks. Our tour operator partner, CANUSA and Alamo donated the prize trip.

American Airline Breakfast Trainings

We conducted three breakfast trainings to launch the new Munich-Charlotte flight on American Airlines in spring 2019. In total, we trained 42 agents.

Sales & Marketing Accomplishments

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

Familiarization Tour

FAM for 11 TUI agents from around Germany was held in Charlotte and Asheville.

Consumer & Travel Trade Shows - featuring the new German Travel Guide

German Public Relations Results

Other International News

Travel South USA

Visit NC led a large group of statewide partners to the Travel South International Showcase in St. Louis, MO. 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.

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, China and the Nordic countries.

With this partnership, NC hosted a media and tour operator FAM to Raleigh and the Outer Banks.

Along with several other southern states attended a sales mission to China.


Visit North Carolina exhibited in the Travel South booth at IFTM in Paris. Preceding this show a media event was held featuring James Beard Award Winning Chef, Ashley Christensen, at the home of author John Grisham. We hosted 20 journalists and airline representatives at the event.


Visit North Carolina hosted a double North Carolina booth at the U.S. Travel Association's IPW in Anaheim, CA. Visit Charlotte and Visit Raleigh joined the state in more than 85 trade and media appointments.

WeChat in China

Visit North Carolina has a weekly post on WeChat in China with more than 32,000 followers.

Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia

In 2021 the Presidents Cup Golf Tournament will be held in Charlotte, NC. To generate excitement for the tournament, Visit NC had a tent at the 2019 tournament in Melbourne. The tent featured a photo booth with the Championship Cup. We collected 1,200 entries for the prize trip. The winner received a trip to Pinehurst, Charlotte and the Outer Banks.

Brand USA Co-op Marketing Programs

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

In 2019 we participated in the following programs: