UT economist approves of $8M increase in TN tourism budget proposal

10:57 PM, Feb 7, 2013   |    comments
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A University of Tennessee economist said Governor Bill Haslam's proposal in a state tourism budget increase would help continue the industry's momentum.

In January's State of the State address, Gov. Haslam proposed $8 million more in the current $20 million tourism budget, to go to a task force. It would be part of the 2013-2014 overall budget.

Dr. Steve Morse said that would go into more advertising.

"To attract new markets to Tennessee, people who have never been in Tennessee. The outdoor adventure market is hot. The natural resource industry is going," Dr. Morse said.

Dr. Morse believes this industry will be relied on more in 2013 as an revenue generator. The state said tourism took in more than $15 billion in Tennessee in 2011. That's the largest year-to-year increase on record

"Second leading industry in the state is tourism. Tourism in East Tennessee has done very well compared to a lot of counterparts in the southeast," Dr. Morse added.

The 2013-2014 proposed overall budget has not been approved yet, but Dr. Morse hopes the increase will not get cut.

"I think it's a good investment to go with. And the governor is going to see that for every dollar going into tourism, 17 to 18 dollars goes back in state tax dollars," he said.

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