PLYMOUTH, N.C. (WNCT) – A new boat could bring more tourism to harbor towns in the Inner Banks area. On Friday, this vessel made a visit to Plymouth for the Inner Banks Harbor Towns, Inc. meeting.
Inner Banks Habor Towns seeks to bring tourism and visitors to the hidden gems of North Carolina’s Albemarle region, including those that cannot be accessed by land. One of its latest projects is a fleet of boats, designed to travel the Roanoke River Delta and the Albemarle Sound.
Penelope, the first of the fleet, made a visit for the group’s meeting in Plymouth on Friday. Penelope is a Hydrofoil Supported Catamaran, also called a Hysu Cat, and county officials said she’s bringing opportunity to the area.
“But now, for the first time, the public that doesn’t own a boat can get on this cutting edge, first-of-its-kind jet boat,” said Washington County Travel and Tourism Director Tom Harrison.
Not only will Penelope help Plymouth, Harrison said, but the boat will also help other harbor towns in the area.
“The original five harbor towns are Plymouth, Columbia, Edenton, Hertford and Elizabeth City. And now, they’ve added Manteo as a sixth harbor town,” said Harrison.
Harrison added that the economic impact as a result of this project will be great.
“It’ll impact our restaurants, our retail stores, our gas stations, our hotels, as people come here to experience this unique opportunity,” Harrison said.
Town officials said the boat will add to the thousands that visit the region each year.
“We already have a lot of visitors that come through here, by the thousands, by the hundreds of thousands,” Mayor of Plymouth Brian Roth said.
Roth said Penelope will get tourists to stop and spend time in the harbor towns of the Inner Banks.
“Families, young people, older folks, to really come out and enjoy the entire Albemarle region and all these small towns and explore them,” Roth said.
Harrison said these Hysu Cats will convince people to take the river, not the road.
“They’re going to get a fun ride, they’re going to get a narration about what’s unique about this economic engine that we have right here,” Harrison said.
Penelope is the first of the fleet in Plymouth. Her sister vessel, another Hysu Cat, is expected to take to the water in July.