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Posted on: September 6, 2022

Recent numbers show strength of tourism in state and county

Smoky Mountains in fall

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD) recently released data showing the strength of the tourism industry in the state. Travelers in Tennessee spend an estimated $66 million per day, according to economic impact data from U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics.

County data shows that Knox County is one of nine counties that experienced more than 40% growth in year-over-year travel spending. Numbers also show that 2021 visitor spending in Knox County is up 42% from 2020 and is just shy of the record spending recorded in 2019. 

Key highlights from the TDTD report include: 

  • Tennessee tourism generated a record $24 billion in domestic travel spending 
  • The travel and tourism industry was the third largest employer in Tennessee in 2021
  • 51 counties fully recovered and exceeded their 2019 visitor spending record
  • Nine counties experienced more than 40% growth in year-over-year travel spending, including Davidson, Cheatham, Sevier, Union, Polk, Grundy, Knox, Blount and Hamilton
  • Travel in Tennessee generated $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2021

Leisure and hospitality industry highlights (source: Tennessee Department of Revenue/Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development) include:

  • Leisure and hospitality industries supported 317,000 jobs in 2021, an 8% increase from 2020 and 91% of 2019 levels
  • Leisure and hospitality revenues have recovered to record levels and outpaced inflation

“When you are asked why tourism is important to me and my family in Knox County, the answer is that visitors generate more than $130 million in state and local taxes each year, which equates to a $693 tax savings for every Knox County household,” says Farragut Tourism Manager Karen Tindal.

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