Dare County occupancy grows 9% in Sept., meals down slightly; Aug. retail sales up nearly double digits

Dare County occupancy grows 9% in Sept., meals down slightly; Aug. retail sales up nearly double digits

November 16th, 2023

Despite a cooler-than-normal September and a visit from Tropical Storm Ophelia, Dare County saw occupancy collections grow by nine percent and meals income drop by only a fraction of a percent from a year ago.

And retail sales in August were up double-digits to set a new all-time monthly high to wrap up the summer season.

According to the report presented at the Dare County Tourism Board’s meeting on November 16, gross occupancy collections totaled $79.78 million. For the year, gross occupancy has increased by 2.21% ($758.3 million) from 2022 ($741.9 million).

The online travel company sector had the largest increase (13.46%), followed by property management agency (11.66%), other rental properties (1.17%), and motels/hotels ( 1.14%).

Declines were reported by campgrounds (-37.96%), bed and breakfasts (-21.7%), time shares (-25.78%), bed and breakfasts (-21.7%), and cottages (-9.54%).

Hatteras Island broke a seven month streak of declining occupancy collections when compared to the same month in 2022, growing by 12.89 percent for September. The northern beach areas were up 8.17%, while Roanoke Island/mainland dropped 6.12%. 

Prepared meals collections of $39.51 million were off by 0.37% when compared to the previous September ($39.66 million). It was the first time since March that a new record for the month was not set.

Hatteras Island meals collections were down 7.68% for September, while Roanoke Island grew by 3.97%. Hatteras Island declined 7.68%.

The calendar year totals for meals remained ahead of 2022 by 4.17% ($323.3 million). All three districts are ahead of last year, with northern beach dining income up 19.35%, Hatteras Island up 18.19% and Roanoke Island up 22.75%.

August retail sales set a new single month record of $19.35 million, growing by 9.7% to break the previous mark set in August 2022 ($17.64 million). Retail sales for the first eight months of 2023 total $76.16 million, $2.4 million and 3.27% ahead of last year.

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