Lewis County tourism records increase

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett recently announced Tennessee tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached an all-time high of $18.4 billion in 2015, up 3.7 percent over the previous year, as reported by the U.S. Travel Association. The announcement took place at the Sevier County Courthouse near the iconic Dolly Parton statue. Mountain Rukus from Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede provided music.

Guests spent a total of $6.16 million in Lewis County in 2015, an increase of 2.3 percent compared to 2014, generating a total of $0.36 million in state and $0.30 million in local tax revenues, increases of 6.9 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively. A total of 48 Lewis Countians are employed in tourism-related fields.

For the 10th consecutive year, tourism topped $1 billion in state and local sales tax revenue, reaching $1.6 billion, up 7 percent over 2014. Tourism-generated jobs for Tennesseans reached 157,400, an increase of 2.9 percent.

Top five counties include Davidson ($5.686 billion), Shelby ($3.196 billion), Sevier ($2.031 billion), Hamilton ($1.016 billion), and Knox ($1.014 billion), who were acknowledged during the event for all achieving more than $1 billion in travel expenditures. All 95 counties in Tennessee had more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures; 19 counties saw more than $100 million each.

Tennessee is ranked in the Top 10 destinations in the U.S. for total travel, with more than 105 million in total visitation, a 3.9 percent increase over 2014, as reported by D.K. Shifflet & Associates.

“The hard work of Tennessee’s tourism industry, strategically led by the Department of Tourist Development and the Tennessee Tourism Committee, continues to produce record results,” Gov. Haslam said. “More travelers from around the world are visiting Tennessee each year, and the $1.6 billion in sales tax revenue and growth in jobs is good news for every Tennessean.”

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