MANTEO, N.C. (AP) — Tourism officials say the number of people visiting North Carolina's Outer Banks and the amount of money they're spending is significantly higher this summer.
Despite forecasts calling for a slow 2012 season, the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau says tourism numbers showed gains in occupancy and prepared meals during the fiscal year ending in June.
Gross receipt numbers showed occupancy increased by 17.7 percent. Meals were up 8.9 percent over last June.
Bureau director Lee Nettles said he is cautiously optimistic about the good numbers, adding that great weather in June contributed to the increase.
Nettles said the most impressive aspect of the increase is the resilience of the Outer Banks residents and businesses, which rallied to get back on track after Hurricane Irene last August.