Gov. Haslam addresses tourism professionals at Governor’s Conference in Knoxville

Industry brings $16.7 billion in economic impact to state

KNOXVILLE (press release)—Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam addressed industry professionals during the 2014 Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality & Tourism Friday in his hometown of Knoxville.

“You can take pride in the fact that your industry is one of the key contributors to Tennessee’s success,” said Haslam. “For the eighth consecutive year tourism has generated more than $1 billion in state and local sales tax revenue. This tax revenue, coupled with the $16.7 billion annually in direct economic impact, makes tourism one of our state’s largest industries.”

Haslam also emphasized tourism as a job generator for Tennessee. Domestic and international travel expenditures supported 148,700 jobs in Tennessee in 2013, up 1.7 percent year over year, and these jobs provide $3.3 billion in payroll income.

Tourism’s steady growth as an economic driver is always impressive but customer satisfaction is essential for an industry to thrive. Tennessee’s visitor satisfaction rating surpassed the national average once again by achieving an 8.54 (out of 10) rating.

Another highlight of Friday’s Governor’s luncheon was the announcement that Tennessee’s 14 Welcome Centers have achieved green certification. Skye Con, a Chattanooga based company focused on sustainability certifications and environmental consulting, assisted in Tennessee’s Welcome Centers’ goal for going green.

Gov. Haslam expressed his appreciation to the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development under Commissioner Susan Whitaker and the Tennessee Tourism Committee, who work together to ensure that the tourism industry continues to thrive. The Committee is made up of tourism leaders in both the public and private sectors. The committee is chaired by Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., and co-chaired by Ted Miller, Dolly Parton Productions and Jack Soden, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

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