The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and partners from the state’s $16.16 billion tourism industry are joining forces during National Travel and Tourism Week, May 3-11, encouraging Tennesseans to reverse an alarming national trend and enjoy all of their paid time off this year.
According to statistics culled from the Social Security Administration and a study conducted by Oxford Economics, Americans forfeit more than $71.6 billion in paid time off each year—leaving 429 million days of vacation time on the table—the equivalent of more than three days per worker per year.
Research shows workers who forego paid time off are less productive at work, and experience greater stress in their relationships than those who take their hard-earned vacation time to relax and recharge.
In response to busy lifestyles that often shorten the time available to plan and get away, volunteers from Tennessee’s 146,200-person tourism workforce will assemble at the 13 Tennessee Welcome Centers providing an extra-special welcome to Tennessee travelers.
Complimentary copies of the 2014 Tennessee Vacation Guide, featuring native Tennessean Justin Timberlake, and 2014 Official Transportation Maps from TDTD and the Tennessee Department of Transportation will also be available. Travelers can order Vacation Guides online at www.tnvacation.com or by calling 800 453-8366.
“Tennessee offers thousands of affordable getaways that are close to home and ideal for anyone trying to balance a busy schedule,” said Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Tennesseans are among the hardest-working people in America, but it’s important that we get out, relax and enjoy this beautiful state. We look forward to helping folks make the most of their hard-earned vacation time this year.”
Tourism is one of Tennessee’s largest industries, generating $1.24 billion in state and local sales tax revenues in 2012. In Anderson County, travelers spent a total of $114.69 million in 2012, generating $6.59 million in state and $2.43 million in local sales tax revenues. A total of 920 county residents are employed in the tourism industry, earning a total of $18.86 million.
National Tourism Week is an initiative of the U.S. Travel Association, a national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.0 trillion in economic output and supports 14.6 million jobs. U.S. Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.
“It is now empirical, rather than just anecdotal, that travel is a key driver for improving individual health and strengthening our businesses and economy,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry. “Travel holds measurable benefits for our minds, bodies, relationships, businesses and economy. Travel should be celebrated every day."