ASHEBORO - Tammy O'Kelley, Director of Tourism for Randolph County Tourism Development Authority, announced today that occupancy tax revenues for December, 2008 increased four percent compared to December, 2007. According to reports from Smith Travel, demand for rooms in the County was also up 4.2% over the previous year. This comes at a time when many destinations are experiencing falling revenues and decreasing demand for rooms.

"People are going to travel," states O'Kelley. "They may not be able to afford to go as far or stay as long as they normally would, but they will go somewhere."

With that in mind, the bureau has worked hard to get out the message that the area is conveniently located and an affordable destination with a world-class attraction in the North Carolina Zoo that cannot be found anywhere else in the state.

The Bureau also reports that they are experiencing a high rate in their ability to turn inquirers into visitors with a conversion rate that is up 44.4% for January, 2009 compared to January, 2008. O'Kelley attributes this increase to strategic advertising to capture potential visitors who are trying to figure out where to go and what to do on their budgets. To date this year, nearly 40%of these leads have been North Carolina Zoo visitors.
"Our combined efforts, along with those of the Zoo marketing department and other area tourism partners, are what have turned these crucial travel decisions in our favor," said O'Kelley. "To experience growth at a time when our industry is preparing for a five to ten percent downturn nationally is very good news for Randolph County."

The Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Randolph County Tourism Development Authority representing Archdale, Asheboro, Franklinville, Liberty, Ramseur, Randleman, Seagrove, Staley, and Trinity.