Tennessee saw 119 million domestic visitors in 2018, up 5.1 percent from 113 million the previous year and hit a record-high $22 billion in domestic and international travel spending. Travelers in Tennessee spend an estimated $60 million per day. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Mark Ezell made the announcement at the Ford Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Tennessee’s growth is outpacing the nation in all areas of travel; including tax revenue, expenditures, payroll and employment.
Tourism generated over $50 million in new state and local tax dollars in 2018, approximately $25 million of which supports public education. The report’s findings also show tourism’s value to Tennessee taxpayers. Travel in Tennessee generated 189,757 jobs and $1.81 billion in state and local tax revenue. Without tourism, each Tennessee household would have to pay an additional $712 in taxes each year. Those tax dollars support education, health and human services, public safety, business and economic development.
In 2018, Tennessee ranked number 3, after Pennsylvania and Colorado, for international spending growth over 2017, according to Tourism Economics. International spending growth in Tennessee is 7 times the national average.
“From our thriving cities to our beautiful rural landscapes and everything in between, Tennessee has solidified its place as a leader in tourism across the country,” Lee said. “Our booming tourism sector is outpacing the nation in every category. World-class food, music, and adventure are just a few things folks find when they come to Tennessee, and thankfully, folks are visiting this remarkable place more than ever.”
“Tennessee’s diverse cities and small towns offer quality tourism products and remarkable brands that drive visitation,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell. “We would not have these numbers if it weren’t for renovations, capital investments and passion shown by tourism partners across the state. The record-breaking millions who come here discover the music, history and culture, family experiences and scenic beauty that make Tennessee ‘The Soundtrack of America.’”