The Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau announced on Wednesday at the annual meeting and luncheon that the economic impact of tourism in Hamilton County exceeded $1 billion dollars for the second year in a row. According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism spending reached $1.06 billion.
Governor Bill Haslam kicked off the luncheon with remarks about tourism in Hamilton County.
He said, “Good results don’t just happen. People make them happen. And all of you have made that a priority. It’s a big deal what you do here.”
Tourism in Hamilton County generated 8,700 full-time jobs, $64 million in state tax collections, and $24 million in local sales tax collections. Out of the $24 million, $12 million of those dollars goes directly to the Hamilton County school system every year. In addition, every household in Hamilton County saves $550 dollars each year on their property tax bill because of the revenue generated from tourism.
“The state of the tourism industry in Hamilton County is strong, and that’s due to the countless people who are diligent in making this community the thriving destination that it is today. It was an honor to have Governor Bill Haslam kick off our luncheon and thank our industry. He is an unwavering proponent of tourism across the state,” said Bob Doak, president and chief executive officer of the Chattanooga CVB.
During the luncheon, Mr. Doak was presented with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition by Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and a special service award from the tourism industry presented by Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and former Chattanooga Mayor Jon Kinsey. In addition, Mayor Coppinger presented Dr. David Bruce, medical director for all the IRONMAN events, with a community service award.
Once again, guests were entertained with a parody video highlighting a ghost who lost his “home” when the downtown building that held Chattanooga Ghost Tours collapsed. Watch video here.
Several Chattanooga community leaders shared their thoughts, via video, about the return on Hamilton County’s investment in the tourism industry. Watch video here.
After more than 35 years in the tourism and hospitality industry, with 15 of those years as the president and chief executive officer of the Chattanooga CVB, Doak has announced his retirement. He will continue in his role at the CVB through February 2018 to assist in the leadership transition.
Mr. Doak said, “It has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve in this position for the past 15 years. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to God for the opportunity to have led the CVB and for the incredible, natural beauty He has surrounded us with. It’s been very rewarding to see everyone work together to make this community what it is today. Moving forward, my hope for this industry is that it never stops growing.”