FRANKLIN, Tenn. – A record 1.81 million visitors were welcomed to Williamson County in 2019, a 5.3% increase from the 1.72 million visitors in 2018. That marks the fifth consecutive year that the county has outpaced the national average for tourism growth, which in 2019 was 1.7% according to the US Travel Association.
“Year after year it is the charming appeal of Franklin and all the communities of Williamson County that continue to attract visitors here from across the world,” said Visit Franklin President & CEO Ellie Westman Chin. “We work daily with incredible hospitality partners and local leaders who together help create an environment that is welcoming to visitors who want to explore what residents get to love and enjoy here every day.”
Last year the 119-room Harpeth Hotel opened in downtown Franklin, along with three other new hotel properties in Williamson County, bringing the total number of available hotel rooms to 5,562. Other contributing factors to the increase in visitation were a steady increase in meetings, conventions, and youth and amateur sports tournaments choosing to call Franklin and Williamson County home, along with continued growth of signature events like Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, Main Street Festival, Dickens of a Christmas, and others.
Franklin and the communities of Williamson County also gained notable national attention for leisure travelers when they were featured as a top place in America to go “leaf peeping” by Travel Channel and as one of the best Christmas towns in the world by Oprah Magazine. The outlook for 2020 was very encouraging in the opening quarter of the year, with notable national media coverage from Reader’s Digest naming Franklin among the “Most Romantic Small Towns in the United States” and “The South’s Best Small Towns,” while Forbes heralded Franklin among the “17 Most Beautiful Places to Travel in Spring” and “Best Spring Break Vacations for Adventure Seeking Travelers.” As travel begins to open back up across the country after COVID-19 concerns, Williamson County is poised to be a top destination for many travelers.
“With the success we have had in recent years, it is clear that Franklin and all the communities of Williamson County are already on the mind of many travelers,” said Westman Chin.”National research is also showing people will be looking more for drivable and smaller destinations for their first trips back which bodes well for us in terms of recovering more quickly and getting tourism back to the levels of positive local impact we’ve seen in recent years.”
The visitor count was compiled by tourism and travel research company D.K. Shifflet & Associates. Additional economic impact and employment figures from tourism to Williamson County will be released by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development later this year.
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.