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How the Smoky Mountain Air Show impacts local businesses

The Smoky Mountain Air show brings in tens of thousands of visitors and tax revenue generated from tourists, officials said.

ALCOA, Tenn. — The Smoky Mountain Air Show will be in town from September 10 through September 11. The Blue Angels and other performers will soar across the sky.

The last time the air show was in town was back in 2016. More than 50,000 people came from all across the region to enjoy the show. Tourism experts like Jeff Muir, the Director of Communications at the Blount Partnership, said in 2016 more than $500,000 was generated in hotel and motel tax alone.

“The last time it was here, just in hotel-motel tax alone, we saw over $500,000 increase between one year to the next and we expect that probably to be close to double this time,” Muir said.

The show is on the Tennessee Air National Guard side of McGhee Tyson Airport. But many visitors will explore shops and restaurants in downtown Knoxville before and after the show, spending some and generating revenue for those businesses.

"100% they're going to visit downtown Knoxville," said Kim Bumpas, president of Visit Knoxville. "When the air show is in and people you bring that many people into the region,  they're going to always be looking for new and exciting things to do." 

The fun things help the community because when the Air Show draws big crowds it helps fund economies in the long run.

"The money that they pay, in addition to their lodging fees, helps increase the tax base, and it spreads it out over a lot more people," Muir said. "And that way, residents don't have to cast with the burden of paying all the taxes."

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