Hickory – The Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is celebrating tourism throughout the month of May.
Since 1983, the National Travel and Tourism Week has been the first full week of May, which is May 7 – 13 this year. Tourism Week is America’s annual salute to travel and tourism and when tourism professionals from across the nation work throughout the week to promote the impactful contributions their travel markets and organizations make to the U.S. economy.  Tourism is a growth industry in Catawba County, generating more than $252 million in expenditures last year, which is a 4.5 percent increase over the last year.  In addition, 2,280 people in Catawba County have tourism careers with a total payroll of more than $46 million.

The Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau celebrates the importance of tourism through its “31 Days of May” campaign extending throughout the entire month of May rather than limiting it to just one week.  This campaign showcases just a few of the dozens of attractions, events, hotels, restaurants and more right here in our own backyard, as well as spotlights the importance of tourism within our community.

“Last year was the inaugural rand.  “Our local residents within the tourism industry are amazing, as they are dedicated to greeting visitors, whether they are from far away or near by, hospitable to all no matter the needs, and always willing to go the extra mile to tell our community’s story whether it is by detailing about how local foods are prepared in upscale restaurants to farmers markets, to how furniture is crafted, or how an art exhibit came together.”

The “31 Days of May” calendar can be found at www.hickorymetro.com/31daysofmay and the Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors staff and ambassadors will be at many of these events throughout the month handing out exciting prizes.

“Events or activities on the calendar are suggestions of things to do during May to see what our community has to offer,” said Sarah Davis, Director of Sales for the Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau.  “Most of these suggestions are open all year as well so if you cannot get to all of them during May find a time to explore them this year.”

Davis added that a few things included in the “31 Days of May” campaign are Hickory Crawdads home games to celebrate their 25th season, Hickory Furniture Mart’s After Market Sale, live theatre at the Green Room Community Theatre and the Hickory Community Theatre, and live music on the Sails stage in Downtown Hickory.

“In addition to these events, spend the day at one of our beautiful local parks or take in some local history by visiting the Catawba County Museum of History, and as always be sure to eat and drink local,” added Davis.  “Those of you in tune with the community know that organizations are always encouraging citizens to ‘tell our story’ to those outside of the Hickory Metro area and all of the events going on in May can help you tell our story to your contacts across the globe.”

Last year, partners of the Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, including the Catawba County Commissioners, Conover City Council and Hickory City Council, proclaimed May as Tourism Month and will be doing so again this year.

For more information about the “31 Days of May” campaign or any other events in the area call the Hickory Metro CVB at (828) 322-1335 or visit Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., or visit www.hickorymetro.com/31daysofmay for a full schedule of events for the month of May.

Photo from left to right: Terri von Drehle, Hickory Metro Convention Center & Visitors Bureau – Visitors Center Coordinator, Sarah Davis, Hickory Metro Convention Center & Visitors Bureau – Director of Sales, Catawba County Commissioner Barbara Beatty, Hickory Metro Convention Center & Visitors Bureau – CEO Mandy Hildebrand.