With the seasons changing, Airbnb and Visit North Carolina announced the launch of Summer on the Northeast Lakes and Rivers, a campaign to highlight travel opportunities in Edgecombe, Halifax, Vance, and Warren counties, whose bodies of water include Kerr Lake, Lake Gaston, and the Tar and Roanoke rivers. The campaign is a continuation of the Dream Big in Small Town NC partnership launched last year where Airbnb and Visit North Carolina promoted Spring in the Scenic Mountains. The final phase of the campaign, Fall in the Inner Banks, will profile seven counties in the Inner Banks later this year.
The Dream Big in Small Town NC campaign aims to promote travel in 16 rural counties across North Carolina’s three distinct regions. Funded by the General Assembly as part of North Carolina’s Rural Tourism Recovery Pilot Program, the campaign is led by Visit North Carolina and Airbnb, in coordination with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, to support the state’s recovery from the pandemic and showcase the many unique shops, restaurants and communities who rely on the local tourism industry.
“Airbnb’s partnership has helped us extend the invitation for travelers to Dream Big in Small Town NC,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina. “With commercial accommodations limited in many of our rural areas, the company and its Hosts expand the lodging options and make short and longer-term stays easier to plan. With Airbnb’s direct support of the Dream Big promotion, we’re able to welcome more people to destinations with a wealth of outdoor spaces, small-town charm and unexpected pleasures.”
Experiencing the outdoors on North Carolina’s Northeast Lakes and Rivers
The Northeast Lakes and Rivers offer amazing attractions for outdoor lovers, history buffs, adventurers and more. In Henderson, Kerr Lake and its 850 miles of shoreline have a dozen local access points, eight of which are concentrated in a state recreation area known for hiking and birding as well as water activities. At Lake Gaston, between Warrenton and Roanoke Rapids, adventure seekers can sign up for lessons from international wakeboarding champion Adam Fields’ AF Wake. Tarboro visitors can access the scenic Tar River Paddle Trail, while distance paddlers can embark on the Roanoke River State Trail from Weldon. Stunning views of history and nature reward hikers at Medoc Mountain State Park and on the Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail, which offers loaner bikes.
Airbnb Hosts are eager to welcome new guests and share their favorite local spots and experiences in the Northeast Lakes and Rivers counties.
“Summers on the Northeast Lakes and Rivers of North Carolina means nights catching fireflies and stargazing over constellations. The Old North State offers an opportunity to dream in small towns and imagine the past, present, and future in historic districts such as Halifax, Warrenton, and Tarboro. The rural adventures are abundant for foodies, artisans, and outdoorsy types, and include Bragging Rooster, one of North Carolina’s first breweries and meaderies, Lakeland Cultural Arts Center, and the World largest waterfowl exhibit at Sylvan Heights Bird Park. As a native to this area and Airbnb Academy Alumni, I look forward to welcoming guests to explore rural North Carolina’s art, culture, and local entertainment.”
— Eva, New Host and Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy Alum, North Carolina, United States
Last May, Airbnb made it easier to discover the millions of unique homes guests never knew existed by introducing a new way to search via Airbnb Categories. Guests have no shortage of opportunities to enjoy relaxing lakeside and taking in the views in the Northeast Lakes and Rivers counties, with “Lake,” “Lakefront,” “Countryside,” “Cabins,” and “Amazing Views” coming in at the Top 5 most booked categories in 2022.1
Start the getaway dream by entering the sweepstakes for a chance to win:
- A $1,000 Airbnb gift card
- Three $100 gift cards for a choice of restaurants, shops, and activities
- A $500 gift card from Visit NC to assist with travel expenses
Spreading the economic benefits of tourism to rural areas
The partnership with Visit NC is part of Airbnb’s ongoing work with destination marketing organizations and local governments to support local economic recovery from the pandemic. To date, Airbnb has launched more than 150 partnerships across nearly three dozen countries, including nearly 40 in the US and Canada, to bolster the benefits of travel for residents and small businesses.
Since our founding, the Airbnb platform has helped communities use existing space to scale accommodations and absorb influxes of visitors, all while creating important economic opportunities for Hosts and local small businesses. The growth of rural tourism expands those benefits to communities that don’t typically see the same influx of visitors as urban areas.
Tourism in the North Carolina’s Northeast Lakes and Rivers counties
- Hosts in Edgecombe, Halifax, Vance, and Warren counties collectively earned over $3.5 million in 2022, an increase of more than 450% compared to 20192
- In 2022, total nights booked more than tripled compared to 2019 in Edgecombe, Halifax, Vance, and Warren counties combined3
“Through our partnership with Visit North Carolina, we hope to inspire more travelers to discover the appeal of visiting the rural communities that make up the Northeast Lakes and Rivers region,” said Viviana Jordan, Head of Southeast Public Policy for Airbnb. “From the lakes to the countryside, we want to invite travelers to take in the amazing views, and explore all that this region has to offer – whether for a leisure trip or to consider making it their new home. Rural NC is filled with opportunity for both guests and locals and we’re proud to help showcase that. Locally, small businesses and Hosts benefit from the increased tourism, while, in turn, local tourism authorities benefit from the influx of important tax dollars that help promote their destinations. In 2022, the typical Host in Rural NC earned over $14,000 and collectively over $370 million, more than a 350% increase compared to pre-pandemic travel in 2019.”4
Educating North Carolina communities on the power of hosting
Airbnb is also supporting North Carolina residents through the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy, an entrepreneurship development program focused on introducing individuals from diverse and underrepresented communities to hosting on the Airbnb platform in coordination with local community partners. Since 2021, the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy has been working with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) to design and run Academies to educate residents of rural North Carolina about the benefits of hosting on Airbnb and how to get started.
“The Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy was an incredibly engaging and rewarding experience for me. The Academy was a fun and effective way for me to explore developing an experience on my farm—what I initially perceived as overly simplistic or unimportant ideas ended up being surprisingly entertaining for others. The constructive feedback and suggestions from my fellow participants was also extremely helpful. Not only did I gain valuable insights into the process of designing a unique experience on my farm, but I also discovered the joy of seeing my ideas come to life and bring joy to others. Overall, the Academy was a fantastic way for me to explore my creativity and connect with like-minded people.”
— Catherine, Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy Alum and Superhost
- Learn more about the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy
- Discover ‘Dream Big’ in the Northeast Lakes & Rivers