Wilmington added to TripAdvisor’s 2018 Destinations on the Rise


Photo by Joshua McClure, courtesy of Blockade Runner.

Tyler Newman, Assistant News Editor

Wrightsville Beach. Photo by Joshua McClure, courtesy of Blockade Runner.

The New Year is in full swing and resolutions are bringing stress as the threat of snow and cold weather targets millions across the country.

One thing many people will most likely seek in the warmer months is travel, and with TripAdvisor’s annual Travelers’ Choice awards, the eyes of tourists could look to Wilmington this summer.

The annual Travelers’ Choice awards ranks destinations on the rise around the world and the United States. Wilmington ranked third on this year’s list with Kapa’a, HI and Waco, TX following directly after. TripAdvisor’s description of Wilmington for prospective visitors is as follows:

“Wilmington is a vibrant riverfront city and the most accessible coastal area in the state. The pedestrian-friendly Riverwalk winds along the Cape Fear River, connecting many of the city’s shops, cafes and nightlife with waterfront hotels, parks and the Port City Marina. Annual festivals, such as Riverfest, Wilmington Beer Week and the world-famous North Carolina Azalea Festival, attract crowds year-round. Three nearby island beaches offer even more dining, attractions and water sports.”

Rounding out the top ten are Bend, Ore.; Boulder, Colo.; Paso Robles, Calif.; Richmond, Va.; Greenville, S.C.; Omaha, Neb. and Lexington, Ky.

TripAdvisor’s new ranking could see Wilmington’s tourism industry surge in the coming months. The Cape Fear region largely relies on tourism to drive revenue.

The Wilmington area employed around 22,000 people in the summer of 2017 for the Leisure and Hospitality super-sectors according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A sudden rush of new tourists during the peak summer vacation season could drive up demand for more employees at hospitality venues. These venues include hotels and popular restaurants downtown and along the beaches.

There are around 533 restaurants and 45 hotels with ratings in the city of Wilmington, giving tourists a large selection to choose from when visiting the Port City

The Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach is one notable venue for many tourists seeking a vacation in the Cape Fear region.

“Anytime an entity such as TripAdvisor recognizes an area, it spurs interest and by association more tourists are inclined to visit,” said Karen Pennington, a spokesperson for Blockade Runner.

“We welcome the opportunity to host many new visitors at Wrightsville Beach this year, and to show them that our area has much to offer year-round, not just during traditional summer months” continued Pennington.

Pennington went on to explain that employee numbers do fluctuate through the seasons, as do many hospitality venues and she pointed out the number of potential employees growing thanks to local schools of higher education.

“Both UNCW and CFCC have degree programs that touch on the tourism/hospitality, and these provide us with an increasingly talented pool of seasonal staff.”

Pennington went on to say that travelers should book trips to the Wilmington area further in advance for what may be a busier tourist season. “Statistics tell is that most transient vacationers are booking 30-60 days before they travel. For summer months, especially summer weekends, planning way ahead will help to assure you get just what you are looking for.”

As the temperatures continue to remain low through the winter, the Port City is already anticipating the upcoming 2018 tourist season.