Visit Goldsboro, the travel and tourism department for the City of Goldsboro and Wayne County, has published an economic impact report on the 2020 calendar year of The Maxwell Center in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Normally, the purpose of this annual report is to determine and track how The Maxwell Center impacts the Wayne County economy by generating new revenue from visitor expenditures during their visit to the venue in 2020. Due to the pandemic, 2020 was a devastating year for meetings and conventions, as travel and tourism was one of the hardest hit sectors of the economy across the world. While this report documents the economic impact of The Maxwell Center, the report will also show how the coronavirus significantly affected the venue’s performance in 2020 and will serve as a benchmark for Wayne County’s recovering visitor economy. Click here to read the full report.
Despite the coronavirus cancellations, there was still $1,228,661 of visitor spending throughout local businesses due to events taking place at the Maxwell Center between January 1 – December 31, 2020. That translates to $82,935 of estimated sales tax generation and $1,808 in hotel occupancy taxes. This is a 78% decrease in economic impact, when compared to 2019’s figures. The Maxwell Center held 119 events days, which is nearly half the amount of events held in 2019.
The report is based on data collected from multiple sources. These include, The Maxwell Center’s internal reports for contracted events during its first year of operating, Goldsboro-Wayne County Travel and Tourism market research, and Visit NC’s 2019 Visitor Profile Study. Additionally, the Visit Goldsboro office collaborated with local hotels to document actualized room nights based on contracted events to ensure the data was as robust as possible.
The Maxwell Center opened March 1, 2018, and in its first year of operating held 204 event days, and another 236 event days in 2019. It was voted winner of The Readers’ Choice Award by ConventionSouth Magazine – ahead of 2,000 other venues, facilities and Convention Visitors Bureaus. While in-person meetings and conventions were almost nonexistent throughout the world last year, events are coming back online, as vaccinations are on the rise. Already in 2021, there have been 108 event days, and another 49 event days are on the books at The Maxwell Center for the rest of 2021. 2022 is also starting to see event bookings pick up.
Craig Honeycutt, county manager of Wayne County, commented on the success of The Maxwell Center saying, “We are proud of the County investment into the Maxwell Center, and even during COVID, we are still making a financial impact within our community. From the indirect benefits to hotels and restaurants, the Maxwell Center has become a center of Wayne County business economy. We are excited to move forward and be even more successful once we can move past COVID concerns.”
The report released by the Travel and Tourism Department also gives some deeper insight as to how The Maxwell Center benefits tourism. It reveals that out of the 119 event days, approximately 25 events held at The Maxwell Center generated overnight stays in Goldsboro. Over 27,000 patrons visited the venue, and roughly 4,000 of those visitors traveled from outside Wayne County. The study estimates that just over 10% of the nonlocal visitors actually stayed the night and just over 300 hotel room nights stemmed from activity at the Maxwell Center in 2020. The average cost for a hotel stay in Wayne County’s top rated hotels was $97.50, and travel parties spent an average of $623 per trip.
James Wade Jr., venue director and general manager of The Maxwell Center shared, “I am very proud that during a year of COVID mandates and crowd-size limitations, we were still able to bring money into the Wayne County economy doing only a limited amount of allowable events. My staff and I look forward to hosting events with no COVID concerns or limitations.”
Ashlin Glatthar, director of travel & tourism for Goldsboro-Wayne County added, “The Maxwell Center has put Goldsboro-Wayne County on the map as a meetings and group travel destination. The study demonstrates that while 2020 was an exceptionally difficult year for industries across the world, this venue proves to be an important asset to our tourism economy that will only help our visitor economy recover that much faster.”
The study reveals The Maxwell Center is a strong demand generator for visitors and overnight travel, even in unprecedented times like these. While hotels and tourism related businesses were forced to close in 2020 and travel to certain destinations still struggle to bounce back, Goldsboro-Wayne County’s travel market fared well compared to U.S. travel averages in 2020. According to Smith Travel Research, the leading hotel market data company worldwide, U.S. hotel occupancy rates fell by over 30% in 2020, making it one of the worst years on record for U.S. history. However, Wayne County hotels experienced just an 18% drop in occupancy.
“Goldsboro-Wayne County’s travel market is strong due to the type of industries that make up the foundation of our economy. Agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, military, and energy are the pillars of our hotel demand. Even in the midst of a pandemic, while many destinations experienced hotels and businesses close down, Goldsboro welcomed a new hotel, StayAPT Suites, which opened its doors in October 2020. Additionally, as a testament to our resilient hotel and travel market, a new hotel will soon break ground next to the Maxwell Center with plans to open in the winter of 2023,” said Glatthar.
To read more about the economic impact study, visit http://www.visitgoldsboronc.com/wp-content/uploads/Maxwell-Center-202-Economic-Impact-Report-.pdf.