All eight counties representing Northeast Tennessee generated more than $835 million economic impact to the region from domestic travel. The counties of Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington had increases in overall economic impact from previous years.
Washington County was in the top 10 counties in the state of Tennessee last year in terms of visitor spending.
“Counties, cities and rural communities work hard to make our state a premier destination, welcoming visitors from around the world,” Haslam said. “Our state’s second biggest industry continues to see outstanding growth, break visitation records, boost Tennessee’s economy and create new jobs. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Tennessee Tourism Committee continue to produce record results that fuel our state’s economy.”
Washington County remains in the top 10 counties in the state for visitor spending. It saw a 5.6% increase in payroll with $34.83 million generated by tourism-related jobs. A 2.9% increase in local tax receipts and a 3.5% increase in state tax receipts were also reported, while employment numbers grew to 1,950 hospitality industry jobs.
“Based on our budget allocated by the City of Johnson City for our portion of lodging tax paid by our visitors, we are seeing more than 420% return on investment for our community, and that makes a difference in taxes for our locals,” said Brenda Whitson, the executive director of the Johnson City Convention and Visitors Bureau.
All 95 counties had an increase in tourism expenditures. Each county saw more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures in the economic impact of tourism. 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 fourth consecutive year and is considered a top retirement destination.
“Northeast Tennessee continues to grow as a top destination for business and leisure travel each year, Executive Director of Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association Alicia Phelps said. Jobs are created, tourist related businesses and programs continue to develop, and the communities feel the positive impact of each dollar spent by folks visiting our area.”
The Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, chartered in 1977, is a non-profit tourism agency that serves and supports Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties, as well as portions of Southwest Virginia. The organization also serves as one of nine statewide regional tourism organizations recognized by Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.