Business & Economy
10:57 am
Mon January 21, 2013

OBX Sees Record Number of Turtles AND Tourist Revenue

Dare County brought in a record amount of occupancy taxes in 2012 while a record number of sea turtles nested on Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  Numbers from the Outer Banks Visitors' Bureau show Dare County collected $382 million in occupancy taxes through November of 2012 compared to $367 million during the same period the year before.  The county levies the tax on hotels, motels and beach houses.  At the same time, park rangers reported a record 222 sea turtle nests in 2012. 

Lee Nettles is the executive director of the Outer Banks Visitors' Bureau.  He says stricter driving rules on the Seashore could account for the record number of nests:

"It's been a period of transition as the visitors, businesses and residents all figure out what's involved.  We have 100 miles of shoreline just in Dare County, so I think there's plenty of room for all of us, visitors and turtles."

The Outer Banks posted record numbers despite damage from Hurricane Sandy and other storms at the end of 2012.  But Nettles says revenue is still down for businesses that do not collect taxes for occupancy or prepared meals.