Tennessee Tourism Broke Records (Again) Last Year

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Shelby County drew more than $3 billion from tourism last year, ranking it second in the state in what was another record-breaking year for the tourism industry in the Volunteer State.

Travel expenditures in Tennessee were $19.6 billion in 2016. That's up 4.7 percent from 2015, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Kevin Triplett,  Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, announced the figures from Memphis Tuesday in an event at Clayborn Temple.  

“More people from around the world continue to visit Tennessee each year,” Haslam said. “The $1.7 billion in sales tax revenue and job growth are good news for everyone in Tennessee."

Tax revenue from tourism in Tennessee topped $1 billion for the past 11 years, according to state figures. Tourism generated $1.7 billion in taxes for the state and local governments last year. Tourism provided jobs for 176,500 Tennesseans last year.

Triplett said the state's tourism engine is built on music, history, and experiences. All of that is enhanced with Tennessee's authenticity and Southern hospitality, he said.

Davidson County (Nashville) topped the state in tourism spending at nearly $5.996 billion last year. It was followed by Shelby County (Memphis) at $3.335 billion, Sevier County (Gatlinburg) at $2.217 billion, Hamilton County (Chattanooga) at $1.060 billion, and Knox County (Knoxville) at $1.056 billion.

All 95 Tennessee counties saw more than $1 million in tourism spending and 19 counties saw more than $100 million. All told, about 110 million people visited Tennessee last year.


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