Visitors spent a total of $14.89 million in Haywood County in 2016
BROWNSVILLE TN (September 1, 2017): Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett announced on Aug. 24, 2017, that Tennessee tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached an all-time record high of $19.3 billion in 2016, up 4.7 percent over the previous year, as reported by the U.S. Travel Association. Haywood County was among 92 Tennessee counties who saw an increase in the economic impact of tourism.
For the 11th consecutive year, tourism topped $1 billion in state and local sales tax revenue, reaching $1.7 billion. That marks a 6.7 percent increase over 2015, higher than the national growth of travel related state tax revenues. Tourism generated 176,500 jobs for Tennesseans, a 3.3 percent growth year over year.
“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. The hard work of the tourism industry, led by the Department of Tourist Development and Tennessee Tourism Committee, continues to produce record results and dedication to boost Tennessee’s economy.”
Guests spent a total of $14.89 million in Haywood County in 2016, an increase of 1.3% compared to 2015, generating a total of $900,000 in state and $670,000 in local tax revenues, increases of 3.1% and 1.8%, respectively. A total of 90 Haywood Countians are employed in tourism-related fields.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, which serves as Brownsville’s welcome center and gateway for music tourism in the rural region, saw 32,428 documented visitors in 2016, a 19% increase over 2015. According to Sonia Outlaw-Clark, director of the Center, international visitor numbers were also up more than 100% over the same time period.
“We’re fortunate to be located directly on I-40 where we can share our culture with so many people from all over the world,” said Clark. “While the impact of these visitors may not be immediately evident to most people, the state numbers and our own tracking information shows our visitors are staying longer and spending more money. Nowhere is this more evident than by the 0.4% increase in the number of Haywood Countians employed in tourism related jobs.”
Five counties exceeded one billion in travel expenditures including Davidson ($5.996 billion), Shelby ($3.335 billion), Sevier ($2.217 billion), Hamilton ($1.060 billion), and Knox ($1.056 billion). All 95 counties saw more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures in the economic impact of tourism and 19 counties saw more than $100 million.
“The economic impact growth of the tourism industry is a result of guests from around the world discovering everything that makes Tennessee ‘The Soundtrack of America,’” Commissioner Triplett said. “It starts with what we have; the music, history, culture and experiences. It is enhanced by how those things are managed. The authenticity and Southern hospitality from our communities and partners create an environment for our guests in a way not only that helps them enjoy their stay but motivates them to return. These numbers are a reflection of Tennessee becoming a destination of choice. But a critical component of this is they do not include the staggering capital investments being made by tourism partners across the state to enhance the experience.”
In another record previously announced during National Travel and Tourism Week, 110 million people visited the state in 2016, up 4.4 percent from 2015, as reported by D.K Shifflet & Associates. An increase in leisure travelers also led to a jump in overnight stays. Tennessee places among the Top 10 travel destinations in the U.S. for the third consecutive year and is considered a top retirement destination.
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development doesn’t achieve these numbers alone. In 2011 Gov. Haslam appointed the Tennessee Tourism Committee, made up of tourism leaders in both the public and private sectors. The Committee is chaired by Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. The department also works with local convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce and city and county leaders in all 95 counties to draw people to the state.
For more information, contact Jill Kilgore, public relations media manager for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, at 615-927-1320 or by email at Jill.Kilgore@tn.gov.
About the Center: The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, in Brownsville, offers a refreshing Southern experience showcasing the history and culture of rural West Tennessee. Inside visitors can learn about the history of cotton, explore the scenic and “wild” Hatchie River and get to know the legendary musicians who call West Tennessee home. Also located on the grounds is the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner, and the last home of Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes. The Delta Heritage Center is also a featured stop along the Americana Music Triangle connecting Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. To learn more about the Center, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000.