Tennessee Is the Power of Travel



This National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), there is more reason than ever to celebrate the collective strength of the U.S. travel and tourism industry and its dynamic workforce. The 38th annual NTTW, taking place May 2-8, recognizes the Power of Travel and the critical role our industry will play in bringing back our vibrant communities, restoring the economy, rebuilding our workforce and reconnecting America.

Prior to the pandemic, the travel industry was a powerful economic engine, supporting jobs and driving local economies in every pocket of America. The industry had experienced 107 straight months of growth, generated $2.6 trillion in economic output, supported 17 million American jobs and delivered a $51 billion trade surplus to the U.S.

Unfortunately, that strong growth trend plummeted last year due to the pandemic. Travel spending in the U.S. declined 42%, costing the economy $1.1 trillion, while hardworking Americans supported by travel made up a staggering 65% of all U.S. unemployment. Here in Tennessee, as our attractions, hotels, and restaurants were unable to welcome visitors, our once thriving travel and tourism industry was no longer the significant economic driver it had been.

In 2019:

  • Domestic and international travelers spent $24.5 billion exploring the Volunteer State
  • For every $1 million spent in Tennessee by domestic and international travelers, 8.0 jobs were created
  • The 194,944 travel-supported jobs represented 7.5% of Tennessee’s total private industry employment, without which our unemployment rate of 3.4% would have been 10.6% of the labor force
  • Travel spending generated $3.6 billion to federal, state and local governments, which help fund jobs and public programs such as police, firefighters, teachers, road projects, and convention centers

Tennessee experienced severe losses in 2020:

  • Spending by domestic and international travelers declined by 37%, shuttering many local businesses and putting our residents out of work
  • Due to the decline in spending, federal, state and local tax receipts declined by 29%, jeopardizing jobs and public programs—which we need more than ever as we work toward recovery


However, Tennessee – and the travel industry – is resilient.


While we faced extraordinary challenges in the past year, our industry united like never before, lifted each other up, aided one another, and devoted ourselves fully to the task of supporting and restoring all sectors of travel. This year’s NTTW is an opportunity to turn the page to a new chapter in our industry’s story and celebrate its collective power by spotlighting the innumerable ways travel will drive recovery, bring Americans together again and help define our country’s path forward.


Together, we’re starting a new chapter, one where the Power of Travel will drive recovery and help define our country’s way forward.


LEO Events is participating in NTTW by highlighting industry recovery resources internally, providing a 48 Hours in Memphis itinerary created by our friends at CUE Experiences, participating in a #NTTW21 social media takeover, and collaborating with our friends at Memphis Tourism on their annual Tiny Elvis relay race. From the bluesy bluffs of Memphis and the to the Smoky Mountain skies of Chattanooga, Tennessee’s travel and tourism industry contributes so much to our local economy and our community’s unique character.

From all of us at LEO Events, we are so excited to share the full power of our industry – and the strength and spirit of Tennessee – this National Travel and Tourism Week.


Please click here to learn more about NTTW and to see U.S. Travel Association’s NTTW toolkit and economic impact map.