NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tourism is Tennessee is growing quickly, according to state economic leaders, who touted record numbers at a press conference on Tuesday.

In 2018, Tennessee saw 119 million domestic visitors, up 5.1 percent from 113 million the previous year and hit a record-high $22 billion in domestic and international travel spending. All those visitors spend an estimated $60 million dollars a day, generating more than $50 million in new state and local tax dollars in 2018.

In fact, Tennessee’s growth is outpacing the nation in all areas of travel.

“From our thriving cities to our beautiful rural landscapes and everything in between, Tennessee has solidified its place as a leader in tourism across the country,” Lee said. “Our booming tourism sector is outpacing the nation in every category. World-class food, music, and adventure are just a few things folks find when they come to Tennessee, and thankfully, folks are visiting this remarkable place more than ever.”

In 2018, Tennessee ranked number 3, after Pennsylvania and Colorado, for international spending growth over 2017, according to Tourism Economics. International spending growth in Tennessee is 7 times the national average.

“Tennessee’s diverse cities and small towns offer quality tourism products and remarkable brands that drive visitation,” said Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Mark Ezell. “We would not have these numbers if it weren’t for renovations, capital investments and passion shown by tourism partners across the state. The record-breaking millions who come here discover the music, history and culture, family experiences and scenic beauty that make Tennessee ‘The Soundtrack of America.’”

All those visitors are great for Tennessee residents.

Tourism generated 189,757 jobs and $1.81 billion in state and local tax revenue. Without tourism, each Tennessee household would have to pay an additional $712 in taxes each year, according to a press release.

Travel and tourism is the state's second-largest industry, based on employment, and all 95 counties saw an increase in domestic travel spending last year with over at least a $1 million dollars in direct travel expenditures.


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