Tourism leaders across the state talked recently with Carolina Public Press about how their cities are managing the need to maintain tourism dollars, balanced with concerns for the health of their citizens.

Marla Tambellini, deputy director and vice president of marketing for the Asheville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau; Lee Nettles, executive director, Outer Banks Visitors Bureau; and Tom Murray, CEO, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority talked with host Stephanie Carson.

The state has beautiful sites from the mountain to the coast and they’re a big draw for people around the country every summer. This year, as many metropolitan areas shut down outside of the state – North Carolina’s tourism leaders are trying to strike a balance between maintaining a healthy economy and healthy population.

North Carolina’s Outer Banks opted to close to nonresidents early in the pandemic, and credit that ability for reduced numbers in the beginning of the crisis. (Courtesy: Outer Banks Visitors Bureau)

All three organizations CPP spoke with put a pause on advertising in the beginning of the pandemic, and have had different approaches to marketing since then.

Asheville paused outreach until the top of July when they briefly opened it to specific markets from areas where positive COVID-19 tests were not on the increase. The city recently paused marketing efforts again.

Charlotte found itself in the middle of a nationwide debate over the Republican National Convention earlier this year, but now is seeking out smaller events until COVID-19 cases are under control.

Many areas of the Outer Banks shut access to nonresidents early in the spring. The coastal region is now enjoying a booming tourism surge, as people seek out beach houses and private beaches to social distance.

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Stephanie Carson is the former news and community partnerships manager at Carolina Public Press.

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  1. just wish we received more info on medications given to people who have covid and what the results were…and what is the status of the age Macon Coun. we never get the death statistics. thank you