Tourists spent a total of $115.77 million in Anderson County in 2014, state officials announced Tuesday. That was an increase of 3.7 percent compared to 2013.
The spending generated a total of $6.72 million in state and $2.47 million in local tax revenues, increases of 4.7 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively. A total of 905 Anderson Countians are employed in tourism-related fields.
State officials also said that tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached $17.7 billion in 2014, up 6.3 percent, and an all-time high for the state.
The record-breaking numbers were announced in Nashville on Tuesday by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Commissioner Kevin Triplett of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
They said tourism-generated jobs for Tennesseans reached 152,900, an increase of 2.8 percent. State and local sales tax revenue for the industry topped $1.5 billion, up 7 percent over 2013, and the ninth consecutive year tourism topped $1 billion, according to the latest statistics from the 2014 Economic Impact of Travel on Tennessee as reported by U.S. Travel Association.
For the first time, travel to Tennessee topped 100 million, achieving 101.3 million person stays, a 5.1 percent increase over 2013, a press release said. International travel increased 8.4 percent, reaching $576.5 million in economic impact. All 95 counties in Tennessee had more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures, 19 counties saw more than $100 million, and three counties, Davidson, Shelby and Sevier, had more than $1 billion in economic impact. Knox and Hamilton Counties round out the Top 5 with nearly $1 billion in economic impact. Tennessee is ranked in the Top 10 destinations in the U.S. for total travel.
“This increase in tourism across the board is a result of the strategic work of Tourist Development, the Tourism Committee, and the entire tourism and hospitality industry,” Haslam said. “We want Tennessee to be a place people from all over the world want to visit. The data shows that’s happening, and more jobs and $1.5 billion in sales tax revenue is good news for every Tennessean.”
Tennessee’s customer satisfaction landed at an impressive 8.5 out of 10. The satisfaction scores are greater than those of the average U.S. destination.
“Tourists are drawn to Tennessee for our world-renown music, outstanding attractions, stunning scenic beauty,” Triplett said. “But, at the end of the day, people keep coming to Tennessee for our authenticity and exceptional, Southern hospitality. That is the ‘made in Tennessee’ brand delivered to our visitors every day by our communities and partners.”
The Tennessee Tourism Committee, appointed by Haslam in 2011, is made up of tourism leaders in both the public and private sectors. TTC is chaired by Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc., and co-chaired by Jack Soden, Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc., and Sande Weiss, president of Music Road Resort.
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