12:21pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Foriegn Tourists Spend $14 Billion Here Annually

Tennessee a Popular Destination for International Tourists

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The Commerce Department released an upbeat Spring 2012 Travel and Tourism Forecast Tuesday morning. The report is good news for Tennessee’s economy.

The federal study predicts a four to five percent increase in the number of foreign travelers visiting the U.S. over the next five years.  State Tourism says international travelers are already contributing about $14 billion to Tennessee's economy each year.

European Representative for State Tourism David Nicholson says anecdotal evidence suggests Tennessee is already exceeding the national average for the growth of international tourism.  He adds that the state is uniquely placed to grow the sector even further.

“The demand for authentic Americana from Europeans is just growing and growing and growing. There are very few destinations in the U.S. that have the kind of tourism infrastructure that Tennessee offers, from the Smokies, to Nashville, to Memphis. I mean, there really are very few states that can match up with us.”

The State Tourism office says French tourists are the fastest growing segment of the state’s international visitors.