Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett today announced Tennessee tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached an all-time high of $19.3 billion in 2016, up 4.7 percent or almost $1 billion, over 2015. Spending in Montgomery County increased to $211 million, up 3.0 percent, or $6 million, over the prior year.
For the ninth consecutive year, Montgomery County has ranked 11th among Tennessee counties for tourism spending. Ninety-two of the state’s 95 counties saw gains in tourism spending from 2015 to 2016.
“2016 was a great year for tourism in Tennessee, and Clarksville-Montgomery County was no exception,” said Visit Clarksville Board of Directors Chairman Jerry Allbert. “We’re happy that all of our hard work, and the work of the State of Tennessee tourism office, is making such a difference to our local economy and to the state as a whole.”
Tourism-related payroll in Montgomery topped $41.2 million, up from $32.8 million in 2015, with 1,760 workers employed locally in the travel and tourism sector, up from 1,530 in 2015. Total state sales tax generated from visitor spending in the county increased to $13.5 million, while the local portion of the tax receipts topped $4 million.
“Evidence of the tourism impact is most meaningful at the local level,” says Allbert. “Knowing that all of the events and athletic tournaments we host contribute more than $4 million into local tax coffers is a big deal. What government services would we have to do without locally if that $4 million went away? Or, what kind of a tax increase would it take to make up that difference if we didn’t have a local tourism office working every day to bring new tourism spending to our county?”
Theresa Harrington, Visit Clarksville Executive Director, credits at least some of the growth on new sports events, increased motor coach business and new hotels. “Adding new hotels always helps because people will pay more to stay in newer facilities. But also, our sports tourism efforts are continuing to grow. In 2016, we hosted back-to-back boys and girls national AAU basketball tournaments and those two events alone brought in almost 9,000 people over two weeks,” she said. “And, those were immediately followed by several softball and soccer tournaments. We rarely have a weekend off during the summer months -- we’re hosting at least one event every weekend.”
Beyond basketball, Visit Clarksville hosted sporting events in softball, baseball, soccer, horseshoe, road races, track & field and cross country which brought some 54,000 people to Clarksville, generating more than $10 million in spending.
In addition to the multitude of sports events, motor coach business and local events, like the Old Time Fiddler’s Championship and Miss Tennessee USA pageants, also contribute to the county’s tourism revenue.
About Visit Clarksville
The Clarksville-Montgomery County Tourism Commission was established by the State of Tennessee in 1979 to positively influences tourism in the Clarksville-Montgomery County area by promoting tourist attractions, hosting conventions, group tours and engaging in large-scale marketing efforts. In 2015, the organization adopted the Visit Clarksville brand. Visit Clarksville is governed by nine board of director members who are selected jointly by the City of Clarksville and Montgomery County Mayors and is funded by a portion of the local hotel-motel tax.