May 9, 2023

This National Travel and Tourism Week, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Mark Ezell and Sevier County tourism leaders announced new milestones today in Pigeon Forge, including a record $27.5 billion in travel spending in 2022, according to preliminary data from U.S. Travel and Tourism Economics. Among the top 25 states, Tennessee is the fastest-growing state in travel spending since 2018 and has risen from 14th to 11th in the nation for travel spending.


“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. “As we celebrate another record year for tourism in Tennessee, we’re committed to ensuring that our state remains a top destination for travel.”


The leisure and hospitality industry plays an essential role in Tennessee’s economy and employs over 352,000 Tennesseans. While good for the industry, the news also benefits the entire state. As the state’s 2nd leading industry, tourism is a significant source of tax revenue for Tennessee contributing $1.8 billion in state sales tax collections in 2022.

“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,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Visitors come for our incredible scenic beauty, dining and world-class attractions, and keep coming back for our unmatched hospitality. There’s nowhere better to live, work and play than Tennessee.”


This news comes during National Travel and Tourism Week, an annual celebration of the industry which spotlights the essential role travel plays in economic growth and innovation. Visitors are invited to stop in any of Tennessee’s 16 Welcome Centers this week to get a taste of area destinations.



  • Tennessee reached a record $27.5 billion in visitor spending in 2022, marking a $3 billion increase (+14%) over 2021, according to U.S. Travel.
  • Travel spending propelled Tennessee to 11th in the nation for travel spending in 2021 and 2022, up from its previous record of 14 in 2020. (Preliminary rankings released April 2023 by U.S. Travel).
  • The industry contributed $1.8 billion in actual state sales tax collections in 2022.


New county-level data is expected in August 2023.

ABOUT NATIONAL TRAVEL AND TOURISM WEEK: Established in 1983, National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) is an annual tradition to celebrate the U.S. travel community and travel’s essential role in stimulating economic growth, cultivating vibrant communities, creating quality job opportunities, inspiring new businesses and elevating the quality of life for Americans every day. May 7-13, 2023, marks the 40th anniversary of NTTW. Travel is integral to every industry and nearly everything we do.

ABOUT TENNESSEE DEPT. OF TOURIST DEVELOPMENT: Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll— delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” Explore more at TNvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “TNVacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, and “Tennessee” on Snapchat.