Weekly e-newsletter for VisitNC partners
January 16, 2019
* Lee opening keynote speaker for Visit NC 365
* TRAC coming to Chowan County region Feb. 7
* RetireNC sees strong attendance in Long Island
Lee opening keynote speaker for Visit NC 365

Ingrid Fetell Lee is the opening keynote speaker for the Visit NC 365 Conference, in Wilmington March 31 - April 2. Lee speaks to the relationship between our environment and our emotions. She'll share inspiration for living a more joyful life through design in our surroundings, communities and cities, and how happiness can impact tourism. She is a former design director at IDEO, author of Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, and the founder of the website The Aesthetics of Joy. Through design, Lee empowers people to find more joy in life and work. Her immensely popular TED talk, "Where Joy Hides and How to Find it," has been viewed more than 17 million times.
Registration is open for the Visit NC 365 Conference, where stimulating keynote speakers and sessions will offer new ideas and inspirations. The Visit NC 365 Conference, named for the year-round tourism industry across the state, brings together more than 500 of the state's tourism industry leaders during this three-day premier travel industry event. 
New this year, Visit NC is offering a Meet & Greet session on Sunday afternoon. New and veteran attendees can meet Visit NC's 14-member team. Use this opportunity to see how to get the most out of Visit NC and the annual tourism conference. Also new, Visit NC is offering facilitated networking opportunities during the Monday and Tuesday breakfast sessions. Plan to arrive early each morning for facilitated discussions based on region and budget size. 
The registration rate is $499/person. Click here to register. When you register, don't forget to share in the action with the hashtag #VisitNC365 on Twitter @NCTourism and Facebook @NCarolinaTourism.
For more information on the conference, contact Dana Grimstead at (919) 447-7761. Sponsorship opportunities are also available, offering a range of options.
A previous TRAC at Ocracoke
TRAC coming to Edenton/Chowan County region Feb. 7

On Feb. 7, tourism-related businesses in Edenton and Chowan County - plus the surrounding counties - will have an opportunity to work with Visit North Carolina staff to learn about its research, development and marketing services, and discuss best practices in reaching travelers, the media and increasing tourism visitation and spending. Visit North Carolina's Tourism Resource Assistance Center (TRAC) is a community-based training program designed to help small tourism-related businesses. TRAC will be held 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse, 117 E. King Street in Edenton.
There is no charge to attend, no reservation is required, and there is no PowerPoint presentation. This is a come-when-you-can/stay-as-long-as-you'd-like event opportunity for all tourism-related businesses to meet one-on-one with program managers to discuss better ways to promote their property or event. TRAC brings Visit North Carolina's program managers to local communities to discuss the nuts and bolts of working with the organization. This invaluable program is designed to help tourism-related businesses engage more fully with programs offered by Visit North Carolina and its partners.
Representatives from the EDPNC's BLNC, N.C. Welcome Centers/Visitor Services, N.C. State Parks, Agritourism, and NC GreenTravel are often on hand to discuss services they can provide businesses, including strategic planning, assisting with identifying funding sources and serving as liaisons with other local, state and federal agencies. For additional information on this session or to learn more about scheduling a TRAC visit to your community, contact André Nabors at (919) 447-7771.
RetireNC sees strong attendance in Long Island

Visit NC's André Nabors and Heidi Walters, along with Scotland County TDA and New Bern CVB, promoted North Carolina as a retirement destination at the Ideal Living Resort & Retirement Expo in Long Island, N.Y., this past weekend. The Expo drew more than 1,100 potential retirees from the region who were interested in exploring opportunities and conversing with exhibitors from across the Southeast. Attendees talked with experts from towns and community developers to gain insights and get answers to help plan, design and enjoy their retirement. North Carolina has consistently been one of the most requested states by the attendees.
Visit North Carolina attended the Expo to continue its efforts to promote the N.C. Certified Retirement Community Program, which consists of Asheboro, Eden, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Jamestown/High Point, Laurinburg, Lenoir, Lumberton, Marion, Mount Airy, New Bern, Pittsboro, Reidsville, Roanoke Rapids, Sanford, Tarboro, Washington, and Winterville. For more information about the Certified Retirement Community Program or Visit North Carolina's marketing initiatives for retirement relocation, contact André Nabors at (919) 447-7771.
Sites, stories sought for potential N.C. Civil Rights Trail

Visit NC, N.C. Dept. of Natural & Cultural Resources, African America Heritage Commission and International Civil Rights Center & Museum are in the process of gathering inventory for a potential N.C. Civil Rights Trail. The group is collecting as many potential locations and stories as possible by Jan. 31. For more information about submitting sites, stories or folklore, please contact André Nabors at (919) 447-7771.
National Plan for Vacation Day Jan. 29

National Plan for Vacation Day is set for Jan. 29, a day to encourage Americans to plan their time off - ideally to travel. National Plan for Vacation Day means to encourage Americans to declare their vacation days for the rest of the year, at the start of the year. There's a toolkit available to make a DMO's #PlanForVacation efforts a success, which includes press release and social media templates, talking points and other useful data. 
I-26 West NC Welcome Center display spotlights Horace Kephart

The I-26 West NC Welcome Center at Mars Hill has a display spotlighting Horace Kephart, a noted author who was instrumental in the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Kephart wrote Our Southern Highlanders (1913) and Camping and Woodcraft: A Guidebook for Those Who Travel in the Wilderness (1917), nicknamed the "camper's Bible." Worried that the Smokies were being ravaged by clear cutting, Kephart took up the cause for saving the mountains as a national park, writing many influential articles.Produced by the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, the exhibit includes information on Kephart in addition to personal items such as shoes, folding lantern and fishing equipment.
North Carolina's nine Welcome Centers promote thousands of tourism-related businesses - attractions, accommodations, events and more - to visitors already in the state who are actively seeking travel information. While each of the nine Welcome Center has a statewide focus, with an emphasis on information for visitors traveling a particular interstate corridor, they offer partners an excellent opportunity to showcase area information or upcoming events on a rotating, as-available basis. To find out more, contact Visitor Services Program Manager Wally Wazan at (919) 814 4649.
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper to serve as 2019 Appalachian Regional Commission states' co-chair

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper is the next co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, a partnership between the federal government and 13 states designed to help the region's economy. This marks the first time in more than 40 years that North Carolina's governor has held the co-chair's role. The commission is an economic development agency that focuses on more than 400 counties from Mississippi to New York, of which almost 30 are in North Carolina. Cooper's leadership position means the commission will hold its annual summit in Asheville in September.
N.C. airport & airline news 
Spirit Airlines coming to RDU with flights from seven destinations - Spirit Airlines announced Tuesday (yesterday) that it would begin daily nonstop service to Raleigh-Durham International from seven destinations. The airline will fly from Boston, Baltimore, Chicago (O'Hare), Detroit, New Orleans, Orlando (International) and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. All the flights start May 2.
AVL topped 'milestone' 1 million passengers in2018 - Asheville Regional Airport officials announced this week AVL served the most passengers in its history in 2018, totaling about 1.13 million passengers across its six airlines. Passenger numbers were up about 19 percent compared to 2017, breaking the airport's passenger utilization record for the fifth consecutive year. The past year saw the airport add a number of new or expanded routes, including to Denver, Dallas and Orlando, among others, ultimately boosting the total passenger counts from past years.
Rocky Mount gym among 'Gyms where you can try a "Ninja Warrior" course'

USAToday included Ultimate Backyard Warrior among its "Gyms where you can try a 'Ninja Warrior' course." The online photo gallery included two pictures of the Rocky Mount gym, with the same caption: "Ultimate Backyard Warrior in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, stated out as a home project, and soon developed a national reputation."
Retrofitting hotel thermostats: It isn't all or nothing

The average hotel guestroom is empty more often than not. If a hotel isn't managing the temperature in those rooms, it could be tossing thousands of dollars away needlessly on heating and cooling bills. Some brands of thermostats, using built-in in infrared motion detectors, can help save energy by sensing the presence of guests and room temperatures while adjusting to the most comfortable level. Other brands use key cards to control the HVAC system. A variety of technology is available. Consider this, though, by updating guestroom thermostats in a few rooms at a time, a hotel can save enough money on energy bills to pay for the upgrade. It can baby-step its way to energy efficiency without doing an "all-or-nothing" retrofit of all guestroom thermostats. Also, a hotel can check with its utility company to see if they offer incentives to help with the retrofit as well. Make sure to purchase a reliable brand that can meet the hotel's needs without sacrificing their guests' comfort. For more information about the NC GreenTravel Initiative or for free technical assistance, contact contact Program Manager Tom Rhodes at (919) 707-8140.
For the week of Jan. 17, North Carolina Weekend continues the second part of its new format: running eight episodes, one each week, and then repeating those episodes for the following eight weeks. So this week's episode is a repeat of the one that originally aired Nov. 14, spotlighting Indian culture in Cary and Morrisville; the newly re-opened visitors center at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills; Part 1 of a story on the Surry Winter Wine Passport in Mount Airy and Elkin; and Stackhouse American Eatery & Pub in Mars Hill. (Check local listings; segments are subject to change.) North Carolina Weekend is underwritten by Visit North Carolina. In addition, UNC-TV has recent editions of North Carolina Weekend available online.
The top 15 international countries of origin sending visitors to North Carolina represent 83 percent of all international visitors to the state. The top countries are Canada, U.K., Germany, China, Mexico, India, Japan, France, Brazil, Australia, South Korea, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Denmark. For more North Carolina visitor information, visit Research, or contact Visit NC's Marlise Taylor at (919) 447-7748.

Upcoming Industry Meetings & Events

Through Jan. 17 - BRPA Winter Meeting, Wyethville, Va.
Jan. 24-25 - MPI Carolinas Chapter Meeting, Durham
Jan 24-Feb. 3 - Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah
Jan. 25-29 - ABA Marketplace, Louisville, Ky.
Jan. 29-31 - RCMA Emerge, Greensboro
Feb. 2-6 - CARVC Conference & Expo, North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Feb. 7 - Visit NC's TRAC, Edenton
Feb. 10-11 - NC Assn. of Festivals & Events ShowFest, Charlotte
Feb. 11-12 - NC Agritourism Farm Tour & Conference, Winston-Salem
Feb. 12 - NC Travel & Tourism Board Meeting, TBD
Feb. 18 - NCRLA Annual Meeting, Durham
Feb. 24-27 - Travel South Domestic Showcase, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Feb. 28-March 1 - AENC Winter Conference, Durham
March 8-16 - SXSW Festival Conference, Austin, Texas
March 12-14 - NC Main Street Conference, Salisbury
March 19-21 - STS Connections / SETTRA Meeting, Daytona Beach, Fla.
March 31-April 2 - Visit NC 365 Conference, Wilmington
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