Despite Sandy, Virginia and North Carolina see good tourism seasons

Posted at 8:07 PM, Aug 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-29 20:07:00-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - Tourism officials in both North Carolina and Virginia report a strong summer tourism season so far.

Ron Kuhlman, Vice President of Tourism Marketing and Sales for the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, says June was a bit slow compared to a record June in 2012, but both July and August have done quite well for Virginia Beach.

In Dare County on the Outer Banks, gross receipts for occupancy and restaurants were both up year-to-year for the month of June compared to 2012.

Many wondered this year if there would be a higher tourism influx in the Virginia and North Carolina regions after Superstorm Sandy battered New Jersey last fall.

Anecdotally, businesses in the Outer Banks have reported seeing more tourists from New York and New Jersey this year.

Johnny Pinner, who rents a house in Kitty Hawk, says about a third of his rentals this summer have been from those two states.

"I think from the clientele I’ve had come in that there have been more people from the New York and New Jersey are because of what happened with Sandy up there last year," Pinner commented.

That hasn't necessarily been reflected in the numbers reported across Virginia and North Carolina though.

"With Sandy occurring up North, we really expected two things could have happened: One, that more people would be coming down to see us because of the beaches, and the other aspect that maybe there wouldn’t be money for them to come down," explained James Moffat, General Manager of Sandbridge Realty. "What we had found was that it seemed to be just the same businesses last year that we did this year."

That may be due in part to the fact that New York and New Jersey have always been strong performing markets and are already among the top when it comes to drawing tourists.

Virginia Beach officials are preparing for a busy Labor Day weekend, including the Rock "n" Roll Half Marathon and the 20th anniversary of the Verizon Wireless American Music Festival.