Gov. Haslam & Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Announce 2017 Figures
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett have announced Tennessee tourism’s latest economic impact numbers. Direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached an all-time record high of $20.77 billion in 2017, up 6.3 percent over the previous year, as reported by the U.S. Travel Association. Knox County’s contribution to that growth resulted in $1,097,850,000 in tourism expenditures, an increase of 3.9 percent over 2016.

Knox County saw a 4.8 percent increase in payroll with $215.84 million generated by tourism-related jobs. A 2.1 percent increase in local tax receipts and a 2.7 percent increase in state tax receipts were also reported, while employment numbers grew to 10,240 hospitality industry jobs.

For the 12th consecutive year, Tennessee tourism topped $1 billion in state and local sales tax revenue, reaching $1.83 billion. That marks a 7.6 percent increase over 2016 (national growth, 4.6 percent). Tourism generated 184,300 jobs for Tennesseans, a 3.1 percent growth year over year (national growth, 2.5 percent).

“Counties, cities and rural communities work hard to make our state a premier destination, welcoming visitors from around the world,” Haslam said. “Our state’s second biggest industry continues to see outstanding growth, break visitation records, boost Tennessee’s economy and create new jobs. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Tennessee Tourism Committee continue to produce record results that fuel our state’s economy.”

All 95 counties saw an increase in economic impact with each having more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures and 20 counties saw more than $100 million.

“The growth of the tourism industry and its economic impact come from guests discovering the world-class food, history and culture, scenic beauty and outdoors and experiences that make Tennessee ‘The Soundtrack of America.’” Triplett said. “The authenticity and Southern hospitality from our communities and partners give visitors an unbeatable experience and inspires them to return. The numbers show Tennessee is a destination of choice for visitors around the world.”

“These numbers reflect what we know to be true, which is that there has never been a better time to visit and plan events in Knoxville,” said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. “The city is thriving and it’s only going to get better with events like 2019 Bassmaster Classic on the horizon. Our team is committed to recruiting large scale events and conferences to Knoxville and the strategic marketing efforts that continue to drive an increasing number of visitors.”

“Our tourism partners work extremely well together. This is a win for all involved,” added Bumpas.