November 2021
State Tourism Officials Announce 2020 Visitor Spending in Forsyth County
Though not yet at 2019 levels, travel bookings, including the upcoming holidays, look optimistic. About 45 percent of American travelers report at least having tentative plans for holiday travel for 2021, up 17 percentage points from 2020. Hesitation due to COVID-19 and protecting the health of friends and family remains the top deterrents to a more robust return to travel, according to new research by Destination Analysts, a U.S.-based travel and tourism market research firm.

Forsyth County's hotel occupancy numbers are following a similar trajectory. As of Sept. 1, 2021, Forsyth County hotel occupancy revenue has surpassed all of 2020 and continues to show steady improvement, according to Richard Geiger, president of Visit Winston-Salem.

This positive recovery news comes on the heels of the Visit North Carolina domestic tourism spending impact study recently reporting for 2020. As expected, visitor spending in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County generated $527 million in 2020, seeing a decrease of 47 percent from $1 billion in 2019.

"These state spending numbers align with ours and boldly illustrates the deep economic hit the hospitality and tourism industry suffered during the pandemic," said Geiger. "The report indicated how Winston-Salem and the state's other metropolitan cities who traditionally attract and host meetings, conventions, and corporate customers, were the most negatively impacted by the pandemic in 2020."
For more details about this research, please visit here
Convention & Sports Sales Activity (and Kudos!)
While at the 2021 Annual SportsETA Symposium in Birmingham, AL., Bonny Bernat, Visit Winston-Salem's senior sports and event sales manager, was honored by being named Woman of the Year by the Sports Events & Tourism Association (ETA).
The sales team attended the following: 

  • S.P.O.R.T.S. in Colorado Springs, which has already produced three RFPs, after meeting with approximately 15 appointments with event rightsholders.

  • Meetings Today LIVE! in Myrtle Beach, where 22 appointments were held with meeting professionals.
October Public Relations Activity & Earned Media Update
Visit Winston-Salem hosted a variety of journalists in October.
Journalists included Aniesia Williams of Destination Luxury (10,000 unique monthly visitors (umv); William Flood of Antique Week (10,000 umv, 70,000 print circulation); and Jason Frye of Moon Travel Guides (25,000 circulation). In late October, another three journalists were hosted: Sheree Williams of Cuisine Noir (30,000 umv); Sheryl Nance-Nash of TravelAwaits (384,000 umv); and Rosalind Cummings-Yeates of The Takeout (280,000 umv).
Public Relations Manager Katlyn Proctor traveled to Raleigh for an in-state media mission hosted by Visit NC, networking with more than 45 travel writers. Publications included National Geographic, Our State, Reader's Digest, and Martha Stewart Living.
Get Crafty With Our Craft Draft Crawl

The Visit Winston-Salem marketing team partnered with the NC Craft Brewers Guild at the NC State Fair to kick off the new Winston-Salem Craft Draft Crawl, a marketing campaign highlighting our hip and historic downtown and nine craft breweries.

A promotional giveaway included a two-night stay at the Marriott Downtown, tuition to Foothills Brewing’s Beer School, a gift card to Fiddlin’ Fish Brewing, and more. 
Staff Updates You Need to Know
Congratulation to the following appointments and additions in Winston-Salem’s travel and tourism industry:  


  • Matthew Russell — was hired as the assistant marketing director at Historic Graylyn Estate. Russell previously worked at IFB Solutions in their marketing department and as a private marketing consultant.
Frieda Mitchell

Joshua Ridley
Matthew Russell
‘Journey to Salem’ 

Five Salem Academy and College alumnae, aka "The Fab Five," successfully completed a 500-mile walk from Bethlehem, Pa., to Historic Bethabara to honor the 250th anniversary of the oldest educational institution for girls and women in America, Salem Academy and College.

The women arrived at Salem Square welcomed by hundreds of cheering onlookers, members of Winston-Salem State University's Red Sea of Sound, mascots from Winston-Salem Dash and Wake Forest University, and four-legged friends.

For more information on the school’s year-long 250th celebration, visit here

Photo: The women include Debbie Stansberry Faires (Academy, ’82); Frances Conlund (College, ’98); Lucy Rose (College, ’76); Marcia Wood Shawler (Academy, ’75); and Elizabeth Wade (Academy, ’88).
Upcoming Events & Happenings

  • The City of Winston-Salem is hosting a Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more info, visit here.

  • Holidays at Reynolda begins on Tuesday, Nov. 16 when the historic estate is decorated, kicking off a slate of activities from strolls in nearby Reynolda Village to cardmaking workshops. For more info, visit here.

  • The Winston-Salem Symphony Chorus presents “Soul of the World: A Hymn to St. Cecilia” on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. The Chorus is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. For more info, visit here.

  • Celebrate a Victorian Christmas at Körner’s Folly from Nov. 26 to Dec. 31. For more info, visit here

For more holiday events, visit here.
Upcoming Tourism Industry Meetings
  • Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 3 p.m.: Association for Visitors Attractions (AVA) – Virtual – For login information please contact Brandi Chappell at

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