With more than 140,000 annual visitors coming to its historic building in Durham’s ever-blossoming downtown, the Carolina Theatre made a total economic impact of more than $14 million to the city in the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to a recent report from the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB).
“We’re extremely proud to be not only one of the leading cultural assets of Durham, but also one of the top economic drivers of tourism to the city,” said Carolina Theatre President/CEO Bob Nocek.
According to the DCVB report, the Carolina Theatre delivered a positive economic impact of $14,025,346 to the Durham economy in the 2012-13 fiscal year. The impressive number represented an increase from $10,059,482 in 2011-12 and nearly doubled the $7,143,727 the Theatre brought to the Durham economy in 2007-08.
The good news came just days after city council approved a new long-term contract renewal with Carolina Theatre of Durham Inc., the nonprofit organization operating the venue.
The improved economic impact delivered to Durham’s economy by the Theatre, coupled with the confidence in the facility’s management demonstrated by the city’s new deal, established that the historic performing arts venue will continue to be a valuable beacon attracting visitors to partake in — and contribute to — the renaissance of the city’s downtown.
Whether fans enjoyed one of more than 60 Star Series performances in the Theatre’s Fletcher Hall; immersed themselves in one of the more than 2,000 screenings of films in the Theatre’s cinemas or attended one of the many local community organizations’ rentals of the facility, 141,743 people attended an event at the Carolina in 2012-13.
“Through the diversity of our programming, we intentionally seek to attract a broad audience not only from Durham, but throughout the Triangle Region and the entire Southeast. The variety of our events clearly has resonated with those willing to spend their entertainment dollars throughout the region,” Nocek said.
An estimated 20.2 percent of the Theatre’s visitors were from Durham, with 50.2 percent from the remainder of the Triangle communities and 29.6 percent from outside the region. The DCVB estimated that the Carolina Theatre created 48,816 overnight stays at local hotels and inns (including cast and crew of touring shows) over the fiscal year.
The Carolina Theatre has continued its positive trend in 2013-14. The venue has booked a record number of artist shows and performances resulting in even more attendees.
A two-night, four-show run by comedian Aziz Ansari in March 2014 brought more than 4,000 people to downtown Durham. Recent performances by Rosanne Cash, Gillian Welch and others have also sold out the Theatre’s historic Fletcher Hall, and helped fill Durham restaurants, hotels and other city businesses with new and returning customers.
“We’ve seen a number of significant milestones in attendance and operations over the past year. I’m proud of what we’ve done, and very much look forward to continuing to do even greater things,” Nocek said.