Tourism spending continues to grow in Jefferson County

Published on : Friday, September 1, 2017

Jefferson CountySpending on tourism-related activities continues to grow in Jefferson County, according to figures released last week by the state.

Growth in tourism expenditures from 2015 to 2016 was a modest one percent, but a review of the past five years shows double-digit gains in revenue, jobs, payroll and local taxes. While tourist expenditures grew by only $600,000 in the county during 2016, growth over the past five years is $8.4 million (16 per cent increase).

For that same period of 2012 to 2016, tourism-related jobs grew by 24 percent (370 to 460), local taxes grew by 21 percent ($3.7 million to $4.5 million), and tourism-related payroll increased by 37 percent ($8.9 million to $12.3 million).

In the past year, local tax receipts from tourism grew by $70,000, tourist-related payroll grew by $190,000 and the number of jobs remained the same.

“We are excited to see continued growth in tourist spending, and we will continue to pursue tourism projects that get measurable results,” said Adele Sensing, Director of Tourism for the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County (EDA).

The lakes have also been a draw for large-scale national fishing events that have been recruited to the area – like the recent Bassmaster Elite and the upcoming Bassmaster Open Series, as well as the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour.

EDA also works with the Amateur Athletic Union to produce youth basketball events at Carson Newman University and the (USAT) USA Triathlon to operate an Olympic distance triathlon every spring. Another way EDA supports tourism efforts is by sponsoring special events and festivals like the Scots Irish Festival, Music on the Town, Spirit of Nations Powwow and several others.

“We have launched new branding initiatives and increased social media and travel writer press tour efforts, and have a new visitor guide and website in production now,” added Sensing.”

The tourism department of the Economic Development Alliance (EDA) is funded in majority by a portion of the Jefferson County lodging tax, a tax paid by visitors’ and collected by local lodging partners such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, and R/V parks.


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