July 4th Weekend on the Outer Banks. The impact of the holiday falling on a Saturday is hard to determine.
We’re starting to get some of the initial occupancy numbers for the summer of 2015, and the first read is the Outer Banks continues to be a very strong market.
It is a little bit difficult to know exactly what the first batch of numbers mean. There was an incremental increase in occupancy for the month of July over last year, but in 2014 there was an evacuation ordered as freakishly early Hurricane Arthur crossed Hatteras Island. The numbers are so slightly down from 2013—.1%—that it barely registers.
There was a lot of concern that July 4th falling on a Saturday would negatively impact visitation in the first week of the month, and given the incremental increase over last year, that may have been the case. However, compared to 2009, the last time Independence Day fell on a Saturday, the impact seems to be much less. In 2009 visitation was down by 5.4% compared to 2008.
Interestingly there were very significant increases in revenue for restaurants—an indication that the visitors who are coming to the Outer Banks are spending money more freely.
We do need to include some warning about these figures. These numbers are Dare County only and do not include Currituck County which is very slow in reporting visitation figures. The number we are examining come from the Outer Banks Vistitors Bureau which does a very good job of tracking the information.
Also, these figures are through July only. August numbers will not be available for at least another two to three weeks.
Finally, the visitation counts done at key locations seems to indicate that visitation has remained very consistent over last year. Those numbers, however, show who shows up at certain places, not how many people are actually on the Outer Banks.