By Amanda Stravinsky
For the first time in history, Tennessee travel has exceeded 100 million domestic person stays; it was announced by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development today. Tourism results for 2014 recently reported by D.K. Shifflet & Associates confirm a record-breaking year for Tennessee tourism. D.K. Shifflett & Associates is a national syndicated and custom travel research and consulting company that provides intelligent market insight to the tourism and hospitality industry.
“We’re thrilled to announce this record-setting accomplishment for Tennessee’s tourism industry,” said Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Thanks to Gov. Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly, we’ve had $12 million in additional funds over the past two years to launch a new brand campaign ‘The Soundtrack of America, Made in Tennessee.’ Early indicators for the campaign were extremely positive. Now we know the results of that launch are 100 million visitors to Tennessee. That is a win for every citizen of our state.”
Total travel to Tennessee for this record year was 101.3 million, up from 96.4 million in 2013, an increase of 5.1 percent. This was higher than the national growth of 4.4 percent. Since 2004, Tennessee saw a total increase of over 25 million person stays. Increases in visitor volume translate into increases in Tennessee revenues. Preliminary numbers for 2014 economic impact results project nearly $18 billion in direct travel expenditures. This is an estimated increase of $1.3 billion over the previous year.
Attracting visitors to Tennessee are some of the top tourism sites in America including Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Dollywood, Grand Ole Opry, Beale Street, Graceland, Bristol Motor Speedway, and the Tennessee Aquarium. The coming year will likely continue to see growth as the state welcomes new attractions in 2015 such as Dolly Parton’s DreamMore Resort in Pigeon Forge, Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in Memphis and the George Jones Museum in Nashville.