Governor Lee lauds the efforts of state’s tourism industry

By Ken Lay

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee had some kind words for workers in the tourism and hospitality business in the Volunteer State Thursday.

Lee spoke at the annual Conference on Tourism and Hospitality at its annual luncheon at the Knoxville Convention Center.

In his remarks, Lee said that the work of those in the industry positively impacts all the residents in the state. The industry is Tennessee’s second-largest revenue generator. It made $29.5 billion for the state last year, including nearly $190 million in state and local tax for Knox County. Tourism is second behind agriculture in making money for the state.

“That was because of you,” Lee said. “You are giving your neighbors the economic opportunities that they’ve never had before.

“So, I start off by saying we’re really fortunate to be Tennesseans, we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We have the most remarkable people in the world and we’re really attractive as a state to people outside of Tennessee and you know that. You people are life changers.

The governor also noted that tourism must remain vibrant if the state’s economy is to continue to grow.

“Tourism is important to our economy and we can’t let it falter,” Lee said. “In 2022, we had 141 million visitors.

“America is still a wonderful place and that’s evident in Tennessee.

Knoxville hosted the three-day event for the first time in nearly a decade and had a record turnout.