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HIGH POINT EXPERIENCES ECO- NOMIC GAINS FROM TOURISM IN 2014 OVER 2013 WITH THE POTEN- TIAL FOR MUCH MORE

High Point was a big winner in the state’s announcement of economic development generated by tourism last year.

Groups across the city agreed that they experienced similar increases but added that a strong core city would even more dramatically impact those numbers.

According to Visit North Carolina, domestic visitors to and within Guilford County spent more than $1.263 billion in 2014, a 4.71% increase from 2013. This generated employment for 12,760 people totaling $306,870,000 in payroll, $63,240,000 in state tax receipts and $28,260,000 in county tax receipts.

“In a local survey of High Point organizations engaged in tourism, verified there were increases across the board, and not all of the credit goes to the few weeks of Furniture Market” says Tim Mabe, CEO of the High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Much of the increase is due to the year-round visitors coming to High Point as a destination such as High Point University, the bi-annual ITMA fabric show “Showtime”, and an increasing number of furniture showrooms open to the public.

“However, many of those visitors, are staying overnight and eating in restaurants in Greensboro due to a lack of infrastructure in the core city that appeals to them. These events, like Furniture Market are all, of course, a great benefit to our entire region and state,” he says. “Think of the possibilities of how much more of a direct benefit these events could be to High Point if we could capture the visitor’s entire experience. Further, if we developed our core city area with restaurants, retail shops, entertainment and meeting facilities, High Point would be poised to become established as a great destination for all kinds of activities year-round that attract tourists, amateur and youth sporting attractions and meeting groups. To take full economic benefit of our location, we need the infrastructure in the core city to capture more than our fair share of the economic benefit associated with visitors and tourists.”

Last year, the HPCVB worked with 78 groups totaling 147,646 people who came to High Point for meetings and other events, thereby generating a tourism impact of $40.9 million. An estimated 30,000 consumers shopping for home furnishings come to the Home Furnishings Capital of the World™ every year. In addition, the High Point Market attracts roughly 75,000 marketgoers each April and October. High Point University attracts more than 80,000 visitors annually.

“Hotels like the Marriott Courtyard regularly tell us they have a waiting list. Occupancy at the Radisson High Point grew modestly in the last year but could be so much more if we populated the area in the core city with more amenities and things to do, for both our visitors as well as for our citizens, “ he says. “We have the backbone for what it takes to capture our fair share of the tourism dollars in the Piedmont Triad area. Now we just need to make this revitalization our top priority for economic development.”

HISTORICAL MUSEUM ANNOUNCES O. HENRY PLAYS

Rehearsals and preparations are in full swing for the Greensboro Historical Museum’s 29th annual presentation of 5 by O. Henry. The performance features stage adaptations of short stories written by Greensboro’s well-known literary son, William Sidney Porter, better known by his pen name, O. Henry. Commissioned as a celebration of Porter’s birth on September 11, 1862, every season features the smiles and plot surprises that made O. Henry a favorite American writer during his time.

The O. Henry stories have been adapted for the stage by playwright Joe Hoesl, who has written all of the 5 by O. Henry scripts since the series began in 1987. Barbara Britton brings her well-known and admired hand to the production as artistic director. This year’s playbill features The Love Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein, Whirligig of Life, Makes the Whole World Kin, Transients in Arcadia and The Exact Science of Matrimony. Audience members often sing along as the O. Henry Singers perform vintage American music, skillfully accompanied by pianist Michael Greene.

“Though O. Henry wrote his stories more than 100 years ago, his sense of humor, flair for a surprise ending, and ability to make characters come to life make his work as delightful now as it was then,” says Carol Ghiorsi Hart, Historical Museum Director. “It’s also fun to imagine what O. Henry would think about being remembered so many years later by his hometown folks.”

5 by O. Henry is presented by the Greensboro Historical Museum, Inc. with the support of the City of Greensboro. Sponsors include WellSpring and The O. Henry Hotel. For more information, visit www.GreensboroHistory.org. !

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