The N.C. Department of Commerce Main Street & Rural Planning Center recently announced the launch of the NC Main to Main Trail, a tourism-based economic development initiative designed to leverage North Carolina’s regional, cultural and natural assets for prosperity in Main Street communities statewide.

The NC Main to Main Trail is a virtual exploration tool that provides visitors a unique way to experience North Carolina communities. The trail is expected to increase regional connectivity and tourism visitation between the 66 Main Street communities; leverage North Carolina’s outdoor recreational opportunities with retail sales activity and downtown foot traffic; and accelerate COVID-19 recovery for small businesses and cultural amenities located in Main Street communities.

“Main Street communities are economic engines for North Carolina,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Each downtown district features architectural treasures, governmental icons, and cultural attractions. The new NC Main to Main Trail initiative is an additional opportunity to support the economic recovery of North Carolina’s rural communities and small businesses.”

Divided into eight regions, the Main to Main Trail is defined by the state’s Prosperity Zones: Western, Northwest, Southwest, Piedmont-Triad, North Central, Sandhills, Northeast and Southeast.

Each region of the trail has a descriptive paragraph about the offerings, a graphic shield, a map that connects the Main Street communities, and links to other trails that can be explored.

Each town’s link highlights their best downtown and outdoor experiences and connects the visitor to the local Main Street program website, VisitNC and local tourism websites, a press release said.

Main Street Directors are working collaboratively to market their regions and to build events that will attract day trippers and weekenders to explore all that each region has to offer, the release said.

“All North Carolina Main Street communities can connect their commercial centers with the varied and beautiful natural resources that North Carolina offers, including statewide hiking and cycling trails, blueways and greenways,” added Kenny Flowers, Assistant Secretary for Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division.

“Some towns have developed creative and lucrative projects to physically connect their downtown districts with outdoor recreation sites and events, thereby building local capacity to attract tourism based economic development.”

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