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Military playing part in tourism boom in Onslow County

4-10-18 Tourism up due to military boom in Onslow County 6 (Ashley Boles, NewsChannel 12 photo).png
Families constantly trickle in and out of Onslow County, visiting their service member based at Camp Lejeune or New River Air Base. (Merrilee Moore, NewsChannel 12 photo)

A recent upswing in tourism in Onslow County is giving businesses there an extra boost.

Lejeune Memorial Gardens is one of the many places people visit when they do come to Onslow County. While this and other spots are very popular, it's not the only thing drawing tourism.

Families constantly trickle in and out of Onslow County, visiting their service member based at Camp Lejeune or New River Air Base. Those visits can mean money spent on hotels, restaurants and activities. Adding to that are military reunions in Jacksonville, which is a growing trend in this area. That brings in huge groups and pours money into the local economy.

"They had about 70 room nights for four nights," Tourism Manager Kristen Loflin said about one particular reunion in Jacksonville in March. "So that was about 300 hotel rooms ... and that was a Monday through a Thursday so that was hanging exactly when we like to have them.

"And they came in March so that's shoulder season so that's not even our busy time. So it helped pump people into our hotels. But then they were, we know a group that went out to the Osprey Grill, a group went out and shopped, we did a tour at the Lejeune Memorial Gardens for them."

Loflin said there's several thing in the works right now to continue this increase in tourism. One of those things you might see soon is a challenge coin issued to visitors that gets you discounts at certain businesses.

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