Vance Co. Tourism Focuses on 2019 Fishing Tournaments

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Pam Hester and Norman Dickerson, director and assistant director, respectively, with the Vance County Tourism Development Authority, were on Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss the importance of tourism dollars.

With warmer temperatures and spring weather on the horizon, the tourism office has turned their attention to upcoming fishing tournaments on Kerr Lake. With 10 tournaments already booked for this year, the tourism development authority is well on their way to matching or topping the 16 tournaments they were involved in for 2018.

“Those 16 tournaments brought in $1.1 million to Vance County last year, so we think fishing tournaments are extremely important to our local economy,” Hester said.

Norman Dickerson (left) and Pam Hester (right) with the Vance County Tourism Development Authority talk with WIZS about upcoming tourism events. (WIZS photo)

According to Hester, the average visitor spent $115 a night on a hotel room and $156 a day when traveling from out-of-town to fish on Kerr Lake in 2018.

Hester said she and Dickerson are also in the early stages of bringing a regional fishing tournament to the area for October 2020 and a national tournament to the lake by April 2021.

With potential prize draws such as $50,000 cash, boats and vehicles, the goal is to attract fishermen from other states who would stay longer, and thus spend more tourism dollars in Vance County.

Recently, Kerr Lake added to its reputation as a must-experience fishing destination with its inclusion on Fishing University, an internationally televised, Emmy-nominated television show. Hosted by Charlie Ingram and Ray Brazier, the 30-minute episode filmed on the lake and in various locations around Vance County first aired January 7-13, 2019.

“After the first quarter segment aired, Vance County Tourism received a mailing list from Fishing University with 38 different organizations or people, from 17 different states, who had requested information about Kerr Lake. We consider that a success,” Hester explained.

According to a previous press release issued by Fishing University, the Vance County episode will air 10 times in each quarter of 2019. WIZS will update our listeners and viewers when specific broadcast dates are released.

In addition to fishing, Hester said Kerr Lake offers camping, boating, water/jet skiing and so much more. “Vance County has a goldmine with the body of water that we have,” said Hester.

In addition to fishing tournaments, Fourth of July fireworks and the Show, Shine, Shag & Dine Car Show held in downtown Henderson each fall, Hester and Dickerson are looking into new ways to increase tourism spending.

Tourism dollars are especially important when one considers the money they save Vance County taxpayers. “For 2017, the most recent year figures are available, vendor spending reached over $50 million,” Hester said. “According to the NC Dept. of Commerce, that saved every taxpayer $100.”

In the meantime, Hester reminded listeners that Vance County has a lot to offer residents and visitors alike by way of “entertainment venues, great, locally-owned restaurants, historic museums and, of course, Kerr Lake.”

Please check out the Vance County Tourism Development Authority’s Facebook page by clicking here or following them on Twitter at #vancecountytravelersdiscoveralot.

To hear the Town Talk interview with Hester and Dickerson in its entirety, please click here.

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