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Tourism is a boost to local and state economy

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The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce joins Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development in announcing Tennessee tourism’s latest economic impact numbers as recently released by U.S. Travel Association. Direct domestic and international travel spending hit a record high of $23 billion in 2019, marking a decade of consecutive growth.

Ranking 59th of Tennessee’s 95 counties, Carroll County’s contribution to that growth resulted in $21.73 million in visitor spending. This sustained momentum in visitation to Carroll County generated $813.35 thousand in local taxes and $1.28 million in state taxes.

These tax revenue increases demonstrate the value of tourism in Carroll County, resulting in an annual tax relief to local residents. If not for visitor spending, each Carroll County household would pay $189.68 more in taxes each year.

Tennessee tourism was on a record track in the first three months of 2020 before COVID-19. The Coronavirus pandemic is the largest crisis to hit the travel, leisure and hospitality industries in history.

“Tennessee is a world-renowned destination, and I look forward to the time when we can gather together again at our festivals, sporting events and more,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “Tourism is our state’s second largest industry.

In 2019, Tennessee outpaced the nation in all areas of travel; including tax revenue, expenditures, payroll and employment. The leisure and hospitality industry produced more jobs than any other industry. Last year, travelers in Tennessee spent an estimated $64 million per day. Tourism generated over $75 million in new state and local tax dollars in 2019, approximately half of which directly supports public education. Travel in Tennessee generated 195,000 jobs and $1.92 billion in state and local tax revenue.

These numbers reflect tourism’s significant impact prior to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. U.S. Travel Association predicts the travel economy in Tennessee could see a 35-45% decline in 2020 from 2019.

“With our businesses taking the Tennessee Pledge, our restaurants, businesses and attractions are ready for safe travel,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “I encourage travelers to safely explore, support local businesses and attractions, create family memories, discover outdoor scenic beauty where social distancing is a natural, take road trips, explore rural destinations and hidden gems that drive visitation.

“As we see our impact rise each year, it’s obvious tourism is a major economic driver for Carroll County,” said President Brad Hurley, Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. “We continue to encourage our partners to abide by the guidelines of the Tennessee Pledge; wear masks, social distance, work to ensure that travelers to our county feel this is a safe destination to visit and invest in our community’s economy.”

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