BURGAW- For decades, tourism has trailed agriculture as the second leading industry in Pender County.
The friendly rivalry between the Pender County Extension Office and the Pender County Tourism Office has been good-natured. The county extension director, Mark Seitz, serves as an ex-officio on the Pender County Tourism Development Authority Board.
“When I reviewed the figures of our agriculture and timber revenue, for the first-time tourism became the leading industry in Pender County,” said Seitz.
Visitor spending in Pender County reached an all-time record of $165.29 million in 2021.
“Tourism is an economic driver in Pender County,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism Director. “If the county had to replace the revenue from tourism, each household in Pender County would have to pay approximately $200 more in taxes.”
Both Seitz and Proctor cite the importance of agritourism.
“Agritourism is growing in Pender County,” said Seitz. “Generations have moved away from family farms. When our local farms offer tours, special events, and U-pick events at farms, they reconnect families to farms.”
“Natural resources attract visitors,” said Proctor. “Our blueberry farms, our wineries, our oyster farms and aquaculture, and event farms are tremendous attractions.”
For more information about attractions and agritourism, see the county’s tourism website at visitpender.com.