Marlise Taylor, Director of Research, gave a report on economic trends for tourism during 2005.Economic impact figures will be released at the NC Governor’s Conference on Tourism. TravelTracker, a statewide statictical summary for 2005 year-end and monthly figures for December 2005was distributed. The Division is working on an NC Attractions Study with the Cooperative Tourism Research Center at NC State University, which will be completed during Summer 2006. Preliminary results were distributed. Mr. Jenatian suggested reviewing wages paid throughout the tourism industry. A motion was made to include salaries of professional athletes in the total state payroll. A suggestion was made to use a disclaimer on such reports. The motion was tabled


Ed Phillips reported that Connie Wilson has been hired to represent the NC Travel Industry Association as legislative lobbyist. A subcommittee will be looking into defending the delayed school start date,finding an alternative for beach renourishment, monitoring occupancy tax and how the laws are written and governed. Plans are proceeding to hold a Tourism Caucus and a reception for Tourism Day. In January, NCTIA voted to established the Tourism Hall of Fame and recommended that Hugh Morton would be the first member inducted. The association will sponsor the golf tournament during the NC Governor’s Conference on Tourism in April. The next NCTIA board meeting is scheduled for April 27-28.


Calabash/Varnamtown: great seafood hunting


Even before there was a town of Calabash, there were the fishermen reaping the bounties of the ocean along the Calabash River, often selling their catch right off their boats. Capt. Robert Leggett keeps that tradition alive—although he admits it’s not an easy way to make ends meet as rising fuel prices and cheap imports sap the money to be made from shrimping. "We get a lot of repeat business that keeps us busy pretty much all day,” he says as a customer bought some of his last shrimp just feet from where his trawler was tied up. "It’s the freshest you can get.”

When visitors come to the coast, many come wetting their lips for a taste of true North Carolina seafood—and that steers them toward fishing villages like Calabash and Varnamtown. The South Brunswick communities grew up around their docks, and the salty aroma of working fishing boats and the echo of opportunistic sea gulls still stir the senses here.

But time and the pressures of the modern world have changed each town. In Calabash, more than two dozen restaurants jostle for business in the self-proclaimed "Seafood Capital of the World.” A sea of neon restaurant lights, most proclaiming to be the true home of Calabash-style seafood, greet the tourists who infiltrate the growing community that straddles the state line.

In Varnamtown, there isn’t any neon. There aren’t any seafood restaurants along the town’s small working waterfront either. Here the problem isn’t a throng of tourists, but the declining money to be made in fishing coupled with the challenges of living in an area where tracts of open space are increasingly being turned into golf course communities and second homes.

A community proud of its seafaring heritage, the topic is a constant one in the town’s seafood houses like Robinson & Robinson Seafood. But traditions endure in both towns. Friday means flounder is the daily special at the Calabash Seafood Hut, and the kitchen hummed as a steady stream of locals mixed in with a few visitors filed into the modest looking building or patiently waited outside for takeout orders. Manager Gail Russ said the restaurant, true to its location, served its seafood Calabash style. But the cooking style goes deeper than that.

Russ said it was her grandmother, Lucy Coleman, who opened the town’s first restaurant more than 50 years ago. Coleman used to deep fry seafood for dinner, and had an open door for neighbors and hungry fishermen. "But so many people kept coming to her house, she decided to open up a restaurant,” Russ said. "And from there it’s just grown and grown and grown.”

So what exactly is Calabash-style seafood?

Russ said it’s deep-fried seafood that’s been battered with flour and mixed with salt and other spices. "But anyone who tells you there’s just one way isn’t telling you the truth, because everyone does it differently,” Russ said.

Calabash’s popularity has grown as has Brunswick County and the Grand Strand area, restaurants continue to proliferate along the small community’s few streets. So what’s the secret of the Seafood Hut that keeps customers coming back?

"The quality of the food. Everything is done old-time way,” Russ said, noting that the restaurant makes its bread and coleslaw by hand just like her grandmother used to.

Along the banks of the Lockwood Folly River in Varnamtown, the waterfront looks much like it has for years—fish houses with working boats moored along side. But even when there’s not a lot of activity on the docks, there’s plenty of energy being expelled inside the fish houses. There locals come to discuss the problems of the day, even solving a few now and again amid the good-natured bantering. "Every once in a while we get into a political argument,” said Blondell Robinson, owner of the fish house that bares his name. "But that usually doesn’t go very far. It’s all good. You learn something.”

The Wilmington Magazine

Brunswick County Tourism


Visitors come from all over to experience the historic Southport and Brunswick Towns, Bald Head and Oak Island Lighthouses, Fort Caswell, Calabash seafood and ocean beaches along the Atlantic coast.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Brunswick County ranked 10st in travel impact among North Carolina’s 100 Counties in 2004.

NC Department of Commerce

NC Governor's Conference on Tourism


The annual North Carolina Governor’s Conference on Tourism is the state’s premier travel industry event, and it will be held on March 25-27, 2007 in Sunset Beach! The Conference brings together 500 leaders from the state’s resorts, attractions, destination marketing organizations, hotels/motels, estate rental companies, restaurants, and retail outlets to find out the latest trends and issues facing the travel industry.

NC Department of Commerce

Great Beach Location


It's been a great summer at the Ocean Isle Inn, located oceanfront, between Wilmington, North Carolina and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Just 4 miles from Highway 17. Our beach and garden wedding's are becoming a tradition. We have had couples' from New York, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee and of course North and South Carolina select the Inn for their important event. 

The 2007 Wedding Packages will soon be ready. If you have not requested informtion, please do so. April, May and June are being reserved. 

A special touch for our guests---our bedding is now Spring Air-Grand Resort Plush and as of November 1 the Inn will become a non-smoking facility. Two great amenities we know everyone will enjoy.

Mark your calendar -- The North Carolina Oyster Festival is October 21 & 22 at Ocean Isle Beach. Walking distance from the Inn. Come on down!

Ocean Isle Inn 

The 2nd Biennial International Green Globe Conference To Be Held...


The 2nd Biennial International Green Globe Conference and the 3rd Biennial Caribbean Green Tourism Conference will take place jointly from November 1st – November 3rd, 2006 at the Half Moon Hotel in Motego Bay Jamaica.

The event’s theme is: 'Enhancing the Business of Tourism - The Path to Sustainability.’ The event’s programs are centered around three main topics: tourism sustainability; achieving value added services and ground-breaking tourism practices. Topics such as energy conservation, wastewater treatment, sustainable building design, air quality and challenges advancing and executing sustainable business procedures within hotel operations will be discussed during this conference.

Although this event mainly surrounds the Caribbean tourism industry, the practices taught and the advice learned can be applied to any tourism industry – especially the greater Myrtle Beach area tourism industry. To some, the greater Myrtle Beach area tourism industry is in its infancy and will continue to see growth as greater funding is given to the area for marketing to potential visitors and as larger industries relocate and or begin their business operations in the area.

Hotel Gives Guests Even More Reasons to Have an 'Uncrowded, Unhurried and Unforgettable' Experience at the Beach


Ocean Isle Inn adds amenities such as high speed wireless internet, luxury sleeping accommodations, wedding services & an oceanfront conference facility.

Ocean Isle Beach, NC (PRWEB) September 13, 2006 -- The Ocean Isle Inn, located in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, has recently added amenities that enhance the location’s already spectacular offerings. The Ocean Isle Inn is close in proximity to both the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area and the Wilmington, North Carolina area. Because of the Ocean Isle Inn’s closeness to both of these highly sought after locales, businesses, conferences, family reunions and weddings are all events that take place at this low-key, oceanfront resort. 

The Ocean Isle Inn features an on-site event director who can handle every wedding or business meeting detail. In addition to helping to arrange the actual wedding ceremony, wedding services which are offered at the Ocean Isle Inn include coordinating the: catering, photography, florist, minister and any other needs the bride and/or groom may have. The Ocean Isle Inn offers business travelers an oceanfront conference facility that can accommodate up to 60 people, which if requested can be spilt into a meeting facility with an adjacent breakout space.

"The Ocean Isle Inn’s owners, management and staff are very aware and take very seriously what our past and future guests expect from our hotel. Our credo is to always find ways to elevate the level of our guest services and to never be the status quo,” said Lee Shapiro, manager of the Ocean Isle Inn.

Each room at the Ocean Isle Inn has been redecorated to reflect an upscale, island feel with the following new custom features: bedspreads, draperies, valances and island-feel framed pictures. All rooms now boast luxury sleeping accommodations with the addition of Spring Air Grand Resort Plush mattresses on each bed. Rooms that previously had two double beds within the room now have two queen beds. Additionally, the Ocean Isle Inn is the only accommodation directly on Ocean Isle that offers high speed wireless internet. 

For more information about the Ocean Isle Inn or to book your next family vacation, wedding, reunion or business meeting at the Ocean Isle Inn, please visit them online at or call them at: 1 (800) 352-5988.


Ocean Isle Inn Update!


A few things have changed here at Ocean isle Inn.  So to keep you updated here's what's new:

1) All rooms are now smoking free; there are designated commons areas for those who would like to smoke.
2) There is a 2006 renovation to all guest rooms.
3) We're now offering a "Create Your Rate” special giving guests the opportunity to bid on their own room rates. 

Thanks for your time and please come visit us soon!

Ocean Isle Inn

Holden Beach, Sunset Beach, Southport, and Ocean Isle Beach


Area information for our local North Carolina beaches

New at the Ocean Isle Inn!

In a continuing effort to provide the best amenities to our guests, we recently added Pay per View movies.  These are offered through our cable provider Time Warner.  There is a great selection from which you may choose-most of those being recent theatrical releases.  On those days when there  may be rain instead of the plentiful sunshine we enjoy here in Southeast North Carolina, choose a movie, relax and enjoy!




Honored as a Top Performing Hotel as Reviewed by Travelers on the World’s Largest Travel Site

Ocean Isle Beach–May 21, 2013. The Ocean Isle Inn today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

"The Ocean Isle Inn is pleased to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Lee Shapiro, General Manager at the Ocean Isle Inn. "We strive to offer our customers a memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive reviews on TripAdvisor.”

"TripAdvisor is delighted to celebrate the success of businesses around the globe, from Sydney to Chicago, Sao Paulo to Rome, which are consistently offering TripAdvisor travelers a great customer experience,” said Alison Copus, Vice President of Marketing for TripAdvisor for Business. "The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers.”

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