Tennessee Tourism Celebrates The “Power Of Travel”

This week marks the kickoff of National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), an  annual celebration of the  contributions of  the U.S.  travel industry.

As Tennessee’s #2 industry, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and partners across the state
 will unite to  recognize the “Power of Travel” and the industry’s critical role in rebuilding our workforce, restoring businesses and accelerating our state’s economy.

“Tennessee is open and eager to welcome back visitors and help drive economic recovery, jobs and development in all 95 counties,” said Mark Ezell, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “While we are hopeful, we know there is much work ahead of us. Our industry will stand together. National Travel and Tourism Week is an opportunity to remind visitors and residents of the incredible contributions of the travel industry not just to our local economies and workforce, but to the identity and culture of those communities.”


  • More than two-thirds of Americans are ready to travel and Tennessee ranks among the most-desired domestic destinations (Destination Analysts)
  • More than seven in 10 American travelers (72%) are planning a summer vacation or getaway – up from 37% in 2020  (Destination Analysts)
  • As of the week of April 26, nearly 88% have at least tentative leisure trip plans right now and over 71% will be taking at least one trip within the next three months. In fact,  the typical American traveler is likely to take nearly 2 leisure trips by the time August rolls around. (Destination Analysts)
  • Road travel in the U.S. surpassed 2019 levels for the first time since the start of the pandemic in the first two weeks of April, but it has since slowed somewhat the second half of the month (Arrivalist)

This data shows how critical tourism is to our state’s revenue and to restoring communities. While Tennessee’s tourism industry fared better than most because of the state’s diverse outdoor destinations, many Tennesseans remain out of work. As of March 2021, leisure and hospitality employment was still down from 336.1 thousand to 292.9 thousand, a 12.8% year-over-year decline. In comparison, total non-farm employment only experienced a 2.6% decline over 2020. Jobs losses in the leisure and hospitality represent 52.6% of net jobs lost in the state over March 2020.


  • Tourism is Tennessee’s #2 industry
  • Tennessee tourism marked a decade of growth with a record $23 billion in travel spending and $1.92 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2019
  • Those tax dollars support jobs, economic development and critical services like education and public safety
  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tennessee was on track for another record year in 2020. The travel industry is a significant contributor to the U.S. economy and exports, and supports millions of hard-working Americans 
  • The pandemic is the single largest crisis to hit Tennessee’s leisure and hospitality industry, representing $303 million in lost state revenue between March and Dec. 2020. (Tennessee Dept. of Revenue)

Celebrated annually  the  first  full  week in  May,  National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) was created by  Congress  in  1983  to  elevate the  economic power of  travel  in  the  U.S.  The  38th annual NTTW (May 2-8) arrives  at  an  opportune moment to  recognize  the  importance  to  the  U.S. economy of initiating a post-pandemic travel recovery. Please visit  ustravel.org/NTTW to learn more.

Need travel inspiration? Explore Tennessee’s new attractions, hotels, restaurants, outdoor adventure, hidden gems, Tennessee Music Pathways, road trips and unique experiences across the state  here.