With the economy improving and lower gas prices, the Crystal Coast should have a strong summer season. Tourism at the beach has been on the upswing for a while, despite the recession, a trend indicated by a 12% increase over last year in advanced reservations for cottages and condos.
Generating 220 million dollars annually, tourism is the largest industry on the Crystal Coast and its success carries a trickledown effect that benefits other local industries. The Crystal Coast Tourism Authority’s executive director, Carol Lohr, believes that the recently renovated Cape Lookout will be the go-to attraction this summer.
“People are looking at doing things that will be more of a hands-on experience; instead of just going to the movies, they want to have something they can write home about and take pictures and put in a Christmas card.”
The Crystal Coast includes the beaches of Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Atlantic Beach, and Indian Beach, and the mainland towns of Beaufort, Newport, and Morehead City. It features attractions such as Fort Macon, the NC Aquarium, and Shackleford Banks.