FRANKLIN, Tenn. – In 2019 visitor spending in Williamson County grew to a new all-time high of $497.20 million, a 3.67% increase over the record-setting growth of 2018 and marks the tenth consecutive year of record growth. Travelers to Williamson County in 2019 spent $1.36 million per day. In a report released Tuesday by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development detailing the economic impact of tourism across the state, Williamson County remains ranked sixth among Tennessee’s 95 counties for visitor spending. These economic impact accomplishments come two months after Visit Franklin announced the county welcomed a record 1.81 million visitors in 2019.
“We are so proud of all the work done by our hospitality partners and local officials across the county that have made this a premier destination not just for travelers in the Southeast, but from across the globe,” said President & CEO of Visit Franklin Ellie Westman Chin. “Given the challenges of the current year amid a global pandemic, it is encouraging to see a reminder of the vital impact of tourism and the hospitality industry as a whole on our community.”
Tourism-related spending generated $29.85 million in state and $10.3 million in local tax revenues in Williamson County. Because of tourism, each household in Williamson County pays $529.42 less in state and local taxes, and there were 3,736 jobs in Williamson County directly tied to tourism and the hospitality industry.
These numbers reflect tourism’s significant impact prior to the ongoing global health crisis. Research from the U.S. Travel Association predicts the travel economy in Tennessee could see a 35-40% decline in 2020 from 2019.
“We know we will not see economic results like this when the final numbers from 2020 come in,” added Westman Chin. “However, the efforts being taken by all in our community to wear masks and slow the spread of this virus will allow that economic hit to the local hospitality industry to be lessened. When travel across the country feels comfortable again, we want visitors safely strolling down Main Street and visiting all our local attractions again, which is a benefit to all local businesses that make up our community and all of us who live here.”
The Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau (Visit Franklin) operates from a portion of the lodging taxes collected from visitors by the local hotels. Those collections are then reinvested in sales and marketing efforts to attract the world to Williamson County for leisure travel, as well as sports, meetings, and group business. The majority portion of funds collected through lodging tax each year is distributed to participating cities for use on tourism enhancing capital projects that are also beneficial to residents such as park improvements and contributed to Williamson County’s general fund where they help offset the expense of county schools, emergency services, road projects, etc.
Economic impact information is determined by the U.S. Travel Association and was distributed by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development as part of a state-wide announcement that travel in Tennessee as a whole achieved a record high of $23 billion in 2019.
ABOUT VISIT FRANKLIN Visit Franklin is the public brand name of the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Visit Franklin is the official destination marketing organization for Franklin and the unique communities of Williamson County, Tennessee. Visit Franklin stimulates economic growth through the promotion of travel and tourism assets such as history, music, attractions, entertainment, the arts, and events to visitors from around the world. For information on Franklin and Williamson County, visit us on the web at VisitFranklin.com.