Visitor spending reaches new levels Williamson County holds securely to No. 6 spot in state
Williamson County continues to grow its share of Tennessee’s second largest industry – tourism. Of Tennessee’s 95 counties, Williamson held steady in the No. 6 spot again for 2011. The latest economic impact report released by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development showed the State of Tennessee experienced an 8.6 percent increase in 2011 equating to $25.1 billion in visitor expenditures. The same report showed Williamson County visitor spending grew by 12.47 percent to $332.4 million, placing Williamson County in the top 10 percent of counties in Tennessee for annual rate of growth, according to the TN Dept. of Tourist Development; “The Economic Impact of Travel on Tennessee Counties” Nashville.
The Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau (WCCVB) is the official destination marketing organization for Williamson County and the City of Franklin. It operates from a small percentage of lodging taxes collected from visitors by city and county hotels. The WCCVB is charged with increasing visitor spending in the county by re-investing those visitor-paid taxes to promote the county to visitors including leisure travelers, corporate and group business.
“The CVB Board and Staff are focused on gaining the greatest Return-On-Investment possible for Williamson County and the City of Franklin. However, the real benefit of tourism is how much our citizens save each year in taxes that would have to be made up in some other way if not for visitor spending and the tax revenue it generates. We are in the process of developing a new strategic plan for 2012-16,” said Steve Smith, current WCCVB board chairman and County Commissioner. “In terms of tourism spending in Tennessee counties, we’ve moved Williamson County from the No. 8 position in 2008 up to number six the past two years. Our intent is to capitalize on that momentum and maximize visitor spending.”
The economic impact report indicated that $6.65 million was generated from visitor-paid sales tax alone for state and local government. With more than 3,900 hotel rooms in 33 hotels throughout Williamson County, a lodging tax contributes to the economic impact as well. In addition to visitors’ sales tax revenue, hotels collected $2.97 million in lodging taxes for the entire county – an increase of 13.1 percent while Franklin hotels collected an additional $1.99 million from visitors. The City of Brentwood, which does not participate in funding the WCCVB, saw a 6.7 percent increase in lodging tax collections to $1.02 million in 2011.
According to Mark Shore, executive director of the WCCVB, “Williamson County has outstanding tourism assets and appeals to a number of visitor market segments. Our job is to encourage new, ideal visitors to become actively engaged with our tourism assets so that they stay longer and spend more. By almost every measurement, as an organization and as a destination, we have seen unprecedented success here over the past four years. Our efforts now will become even more targeted and focused to assure we maximize our marketing dollars for the greatest possible benefit to Williamson County’s economy.”
Posted on: 10/10/2012