06/18/17 — Air show brings in $20M to county

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Air show brings in $20M to county

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on June 18, 2017 1:45 AM

The 2017 Wings Over Wayne Air Show led to record attendance and an estimated economic impact of more than $20 million.

The Goldsboro-Wayne Travel and Tourism office recently tallied the economic impact based on overnight travel and day visitors for the May 20 and 21 air show.

"Wings Over Wayne was a great event and had a tremendous impact on our local economy," said Scott Stevens, Goldsboro city manager. "I continue to be impressed with the outstanding working relationship we have at all levels with Seymour Johnson AFB."

The Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's public affairs office estimated 130,000 visitors on May 20 and another 100,000 people on May 21, leading to the greatest attendance in the history of the event, said Ashlin Glatthar, Goldsboro-Wayne Travel and Tourism director.

"In 2015, the total crowd estimate for both days was 205,000, which makes the turnout for 2017 Wings Over Wayne Air Show the best in the history of Seymour Johnson AFB," Glatthar said.

The tourism report shows that more than half of this year's visitors attended the air show for the first time and about 65 percent traveled more than 50 miles. The tourism report included responses from 351 surveys, which provided insight from the air show audience and helped gage the success of marketing efforts used to attract visitors to the area, Glatthar said.

Hoteliers also welcomed the increased business during the weekend.

"Being the host hotel for the Blue Angels was an awesome experience," said Jennifer Wickes, director of sales at Towneplace Suites by Marriott. "We had a stellar week, being sold out due to so many travelers and groups coming in for the Wings Over Wayne Air Show. This air show was the biggest yet to date."

Maj. Matthew "Cain" Olde, 2017 Air Show director, also with the 335th Fighter Squadron, credited the success of the event with keeping focused on the customer experience.

"We really appreciate the support of all the businesses and all our friends and family in Goldsboro and Wayne County, and I want them to know we will continue to work hard to involve them in the planning and execution of future WOWs," Cain said.

The Wings Over Wayne Air Show, held during odd numbered years, will take place again in 2019 and the dates of the event will be announced soon.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is a major driver in boosting local tourism revenues, including occupancy taxes, which are used for local projects and to market the community as a tourist destination.

Events, such as 916th Air Refueling Wing, reservist Unit Training Assembly weekends, graduations, promotions, Permanent Change of Station transitions, deployments, and retirements, generated $7.5 million for area hotels in 2016.

Also in 2016, the base contributed $705 million to the local economy overall and resulted in 9,369 jobs, according to the tourism office.