Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett addressed industry professionals on Friday during the 2015 Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality & Tourism in Nashville. Commissioner Triplett celebrated the tourism industry's $17.7 billion in economic impact, which is record-breaking growth.
Among the highlights of Triplett's address was the announcement of a new, statewide tourism initiative the "Tennessee Music Pathway," set to launch in Spring 2016.
Tennessee Music Pathway is a driving trail across the state that connects Tennessee’s music history, venues, and legendary artists. “We want everyone to know the Soundtrack of America is made in Tennessee,” said Commissioner Triplett. “And there is plenty of evidence of it.”
To celebrate the concept, route and reasoning behind the Tennessee Music Pathway, today’s event concluded on a high note with a powerful rendition of "Will the Circle be Unbroken" from a five-piece band that included Jim Lauderdale and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Jeff Hannah.
Commissioner Triplett also emphasized the influence of Tennessee's music in Hollywood movies by showcasing special video clips in his presentation, including a clip of Forrest Gump teaching Elvis Presley his signature moves.
Tourism is one of the top industries in Tennessee. As originally announced at a special press conference in August, direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached $17.7 billion in 2014, up 6.3 percent, and an all-time high for the state. Tourism-generated jobs for Tennesseans reached 152,900, an increase of 2.8 percent. State and local sales tax revenue for the industry topped $1.485 billion, up 7 percent over 2013, and the 9th consecutive year tourism topped $1 billion.
For the first time in history, travel to Tennessee topped 100 million, achieving 101.3 million person stays, a 5.1 percent increase over 2013. International travel increased 8.4 percent, reaching $576.5 million in economic impact. All 95 counties in Tennessee had more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures, 19 counties saw more than $100 million, and three counties, Davidson, Shelby and Sevier, had more than $1 billion in economic impact. Knox and Hamilton Counties round out the Top 5. Tennessee is ranked in the Top 10 destinations in the U.S. for total travel. Indicators through this point of year suggest even better numbers moving forward.
“These record-breaking numbers are a reflection of the successful collaboration between the state tourism department and our partners, from the local convention and visitors bureaus to attractions, hotels and restaurants,” said Commissioner Triplett. “It’s because of teamwork with those partners, including the Tennessee Tourism Committee, that Tennessee’s story is being told, and the world is listening.”
Tennessee’s customer satisfaction landed at an impressive 8.5 out of 10. The satisfaction scores are greater than those of the average U.S. destination.
The Governor’s Conference on Hospitality & Tourism informs, updates, and inspires tourism partners from across the state through keynote speakers, seminars, networking and the annual state of the industry presentation. The event is a partnership between the Department of Tourist Development and TnHTA. This year’s conference was hosted by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
To view the full 2014 Economic Impact Report, visit www.tnvacation.com/industry/research.
For more information contact Cindy Dupree, director of public relations for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, at 615 418-5752 or by email at Cindy.Dupree@to.gov.