NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the National Travel and Tourism Week comes to an end, Tennessee has reached a record breaking milestone.
Tennessee now lands at number 11 in the top 25 states for travel spending. According preliminary data from the U.S. Travel Association, Tennessee raked in a record $27.5 billion in travel spending in 2022.
That marks a $3 billion in increase from 2021, according to U.S. Travel. The report also shows the tourism industry contributed to $1.8 billion in actual sales tax collections last year.
State leaders came together earlier this week at the foothills of Tennessee’s largest tourist attraction – The Great Smoky Mountain National Park – to celebrate the milestone.
“Tourism is a top driver of economic growth and job creation across our state, giving Tennesseans even greater opportunities to thrive,” said Gov. Bill Lee at the announcement in Pigeon Forge.
There are 352,000 people who work for Tennessee’s leisure and hospitality industry, which is only going to get busier with summer travel.
“Tennessee’s tourism, leisure and hospitality industry is leading the nation, and we are grateful to our hardworking industry for making these historic new milestones possible,” added Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
The county-by-county numbers are expected to be released this fall.