In case you hadn’t heard there is a hit TV show on Netflix called “Outer Banks”. It is a teen drama which has captivated the imagination of teenagers and adults alike. The show is set in Outer Banks North Carolina. It launched on April 15, 2020 and has been a smash hit for the streaming network. So, what do locals think of this show and has the show brought an increase in tourism?
When talking to the local populace you will find that opinion is split about the show. Half the people think it does an accurate to fairly accurate job of depicting life in the OBX whereas the other half think it is bunk. A major point of contention, and one that is hard to argue, is that the show isn’t even filmed in the Outer Banks (and not in North Carolina for that matter.)
Whatever your opinion of the show it is hard to argue that it has brought a new level of attention from the rest of the country. According to the Outer Banks Visitor Bureau, traffic to their website jumped 61% immediately after the shows began to air compared to the same time the previous year. Traffic to the merchandise page grew by an astounding 4400%
The tourism traffic is harder to gauge because much of the island was shut down during the height of the pandemic scare of 2020. But this year has seen a return to booming business.
The show was actually filmed mostly in Charleston, South Carolina. There are a few reasons the show was not filmed in NC. First, it should be noted that the show producers never considered filming the show in the Outer Banks simply because logistics would have ben a major problem and costs would have been very high. They did look at Wilmington but ended up choosing Charleston.
The state of North Carolina ended its tax incentive program which encouraged filming within the state back in 2014. This made the possibility of filming in NC more prohibitive.
The other reason cited by the producers of the show are purely political. “The bathroom bill”, as it has come to be known, is a NC law which states that people in North Carolina must use the bathroom which corresponds with the sex listed on their birth certificate.
Whatever your opinion on the show it is hard to argue that it is putting our community in the spotlight and that will result in more visitors from people who otherwise didn’t know about our lovely islands. Businesses will appreciate the extra traffic but the locals may not. Every popular coastal town in history has dealt with this dichotomy.