"For the fiscal year ending June 30 , the Asheboro zoo's annual attendance reached its highest mark in a decade," writes the Greensboro News & Record.
"Zoo officials credit the boost to a variety of factors, including gas prices that kept travelers closer to home.
"We think gasoline prices have impacted us more positively than anyone else," said Rod Hackney , the zoo's public relations manager . "We think we are getting a lot of people who are staying in the Piedmont instead of going to the beach or mountains. They are using the zoo as a day trip."
Figures for fiscal year 2006-07 show that nearly 747,000 people visited the zoo, an increase of 9.3 percent . That's the fourth-highest annual attendance in the zoo's 33-year history.
The surge came when North Carolina experienced its largest increase in tourism expenditures since 1990. Visitors spent more than $15 billion last year, a jump of 8.3 percent .
But those numbers don't mean all tourist attractions are seeing more visitors. For example, state park visits in the Piedmont fell 8.7 percent last year.
"What a lot of people are seeing is that expenditures are going up more than the (number of) bodies is going up," said Wit Tuttell , public relations director for the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development . "Ideally, you want them both to go up."
[Note: I will not be posting for about 10 days or so. Sorry. I know you'll get by. Somehow.]