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  • North Carolina - United States
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Rolling hills of North Carolina

North Carolina is home to more than 30 state parks from its mountains to the sea. Hiking, camping, boating, picnicking, rock climbing, nature watching, and educational programs are just a few of the activities visitors can enjoy in our state parks. From ascending Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi to canoeing the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world, outdoor enthusiasts are sure to delight in North Carolina’s natural treasures.

Tourism is big business in North Carolina. Approximately nine million visitors are greeted each year in North Carolina’s eight welcome centers. While in North Carolina, visitors spent approximately $11.2 billion in 1998 on tourism-related activities, making tourism one of the largest economic sectors in North Carolina.

North Carolina ranked 12th in direct domestic travel spending among all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 1998. Travel-generated employees earned nearly $3.5 billion in payroll income.

Top states of origin for domestic NC visitors are: North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The average spending per party is $338. The top activities for 1998 North Carolina visitors were: shopping, beaches, outdoor activities and historical places/museums. National forests are spread across the Tar Heel State. In fact, there are more than 1.2 million acres of national forest land located in North Carolina.

North Carolina means golf to many travelers. With more than 500 courses across the state, it is no wonder that some call North Carolina the "Golf Capital of the World." On average, every $57,878 spent directly by travelers in NC generates one job.

Twenty of NC’s 100 counties receive over $100 million in expenditures. Twenty-six counties in NC indicated one thousand or more jobs directly supported by tourism.

North Carolina offers 74 publicly-owned airports: 14 commercial airports, three of which are major international airports – and 60 general aviation airports for corporate and private airplanes. Thirty-two of the East Coast’s "million plus" population centers are within two hours’ flight time.

International Air:

Charlotte/douglas International Airport: Located seven miles west of uptown, the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport offers non-stop or single-plane services to over 150 cities. Ten major and four commuter airlines serve Charlotte, with an average of 500 daily departures.

Charlotte/Douglas International Airport offers non-stop direct international service to: Bermuda, Cancun (Mexico), Grand Cayman (Great Britain), London (England), Mantego Bay (Jamaica), Nassau (Bahamas), San Jan (Puerto Rico), and Toronto (Canada).

Airlines providing services at Charlotte/Douglas International are: Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Colgan Air, Continental Airlines, Delta/ASA/Comair, Northwest Airlines, TransWorld Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways/US Airways Express.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is also the home of US Airways’ largest hub.

Raleigh-durham International Airport (RDU): Located 11 miles northwest of Raleigh, 10 miles southeast of downtown Durham, and four miles from the Research Triangle Park, RDU serves six million passengers a year. Ten major passenger carriers and seven commuter lines offer approximately 400 daily flights. People and cargo can reach any major city in the world from RDU and can fly non-stop to more than 40 destinations in the United States, England, Canada, and the Caribbean.

RDU offers 42 non-stop daily destinations, including international service to London (American Airlines); Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Air Canada); Cancun, Mexico (Midway); and Freeport, Bahamas (Laker Airways).

RDU’s air carriers include: Air Canada, American, American Eagle, Air Tran, Canadian Air, Continental, Continental Express, Delta, Delta Connection, Laker Airways, Midway, Midway Connection, Northwest, Southwest Airlines, TransWorld, United, United Express, US Airways, and US Airways Express.

RDU also has ground transportation available through R&G Shuttle Service and seven on-site rental car agencies.

Piedmont Triad INTERNATIONAL Airport (Greensboro) - Located approximately 20 miles east of downtown Winston-Salem, 15 miles northeast of High Point, and 10 miles south of downtown Greensboro, Piedmont Triad International Airport offers 70 non-stop daily flights (55 jet and 15 commuter), to: New York, Atlanta, Washington Dulles, Washington National, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Trenton, Orlando, Chicago O’Hare, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Detroit. Air cargo service is also available. Additionally, Piedmont Triad International Airport has one-stop (same plane) service to 23 cities and one-stop (same plane) service from 17 cities.

Piedmont Triad International Airport passenger air service is provided daily by: US Air/Piedmont, Continental, Delta/Atlantic Southeast/COMAIR, United/Atlantic Coast, Eastwind, Northwest, American, and AirTran.

Domestic Air:

The remainder of the commercial airports are located in Asheville, Fayetteville, Greenville, Hickory, Jacksonville, Kinston, New Bern, Rocky Mount/Wilson, Southern Pines, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.


North Carolina has two modern, deep-water ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, and an intermodal terminal network. Foreign Trade Zones are in operation at both ports, as well as in Charlotte and Research Triangle Park.

Highway and Rail Systems

North Carolina has a 78,000-mile highway network, which is the largest state-maintained system in the nation and provides same-day access to all Eastern U.S. Markets.

There are five major interstate highways which intersect North Carolina:

I-26, I-40, I-77, I-85, and I-95.

North Carolina offers an extensive rail network throughout the state.