February 2024
- Annual Membership
- Visit NC
- Cape Fear Museum
- Feast Wilmington
- NC Festivals and Events
- New Board Members
- America's 250th Anniversary
- Travel In The News


As a non-profit group of volunteers, we rely wholly on the generosity of time and effort by industry personnel. In 2024, we are increasing Board members (at large) to assist us in our efforts to serve the hospitality industry. Please welcome the following additions to the WAHA Board:

Andrea (Andi) Carter - CUSA Hospitality Group
Savannah Edwards - Schulte Hospitality Group
Christina Haley - Wilmington Downtown Inc (WDI)
Captain Wilbur Jones - Author/Military Historian


Various Festivals and Events are held each year all over the state of North Carolina.

We are pleased to host Julie Beck, President of the NC Association of Festivals and Events who will present at our luncheon on February 21. Julie will provide an overview of specific festivals and events and how they benefit the entire destination.

Rob Kaiser, Publisher of Wilmington Biz and the host of FEAST Wilmington will also be a speaker.

The Wilmington Convention Center is sponsoring our luncheon. Make your reservation today


Annual Membership for WAHA is $150 per business, organization or individual. Payment for membership is due by February 29 (with membership retroactive to January 1). Luncheons (beginning in April) will be $35 per member and $45 per non-member. Click on either “join” or “renew” at Wilmington Area Hospitality Association There are options to pay online or by check or, if required by your company, to print out an invoice.


In late 2023, WAHA hosted Heidi Walters of Visit NC who presented a program that NC is participating in with Travel South called the "Tourism Exchange USA". This program, which is paid by NC, offers the opportunity for accommodations, tours, attractions, events, etc. to post their "product" on a platform that utilizes existing booking systems to reach a broad travel market at no additional cost. To ask questions and inquire about additional information, simply send an email to: [email protected].


Registration is open for the Visit NC Tourism Conference, at the Greenville Convention Center in Greenville, March 17-19. ALL ARE WELCOME. Visit NC 365 Tourism Conference 2024


I.S.S. filmed entirely on the stages of the former EUE/Screen Gems Studio in Wilmington has been released. The final season of the Starz series “Hightown” just ran; it was filmed in New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick countries. Wilmington was rated #4 among small cities for the “Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2024 in Moviemaker Magazine.\


Project Grace has begun and is slated to open in late 2025. New Hanover County is transforming an entire block in downtown Wilmington, anchoring cultural resources that will be a focal point in downtown Wilmington that will be the highlight of visitors’ stay in our area. The project will also include a new, modern library.


Wilmington will be hosting the first annual FEAST Food + Drink Festival at Riverfront Park. Hotel partnerships are available if your property would like to provide a Festival Accommodation Package for tickets and hotel stay.

A discounted rate is available to include the event in the aforementioned package. Reach out to Jessica Maurer at [email protected] for more information on pricing and ticket availability.

We kindly request that you share the FEAST Festival information/URL on hotel social media outlets if possible. You can include the following hashtags in your posts: #feastwilmington #feastilm #wilmingtonfeastfest in order to be visible on the festival hashtag pages.
Feast Wilmington
Wilmington’s Premier Food + Drinks Festival - March 22 - 24, 2024


This annual event will be held on April 16, 2024 at the Joe and Barbara Schwartz Center, 610 N. Front Street in Wilmington (in the heart of the Cape Fear Community College's downtown campus.) It's an opportunity for hospitality and other businesses to showcase careers respective to their businesses. Contact (via email) [email protected] if you are interested in finding out more.


Our country will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2026. We are especially excited because North Carolina (and our area) are reflective of the history of our country from its very beginning. Efforts have been underway to bring together those people and venues who provide the fulsome story of our area’s history. North Carolina was the first to declare independence from Great Britain (the Halifax Resolves) and Moores Creek Battlefield saw the first Patriot victory. Major events include the Civil War, the uprising of 1898 and World War II. Our goal is to support interest in the history of Wilmington and the surrounding area through story-telling” that will drive increased visitor interest and traffic.


Wilmington International Airport saw an increase of 21% in 2023; it is the fastest growing airport in the state and the 4th fastest airport in the country! Congrats to the ILM team!! Domestic fares are down 8% but will rise again in the spring/summer months. However, because international fares ae due to rise, tourists might be inclined to travel domestically.


The U.S. Travel Association forecasts that international inbound travel and business travel will remain below pre-pandemic levels; The US ranks 17th out of 18 top markets for travel; countries like France and Spain have increased their share of the global travel market while the US global market share is declining. Much has to do with the policies affecting visa wait times, customs, security screening systems, etc.

Inbound travel expenditures are considered “export revenue” and affect our overall economy.
Brand USA recently included Asheville, NC among the “Five U.S. Destinations to Watch in 2024”. Certainly including a NC destination is a win and will draw greater attention to the state overall

Thanks to Drew Espy and Donna Wallin for hosting our first “Social Event” for 2024. A good time was had by all. Stay tuned for information on our next social in March!!
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