DeKalb County experienced a 5.4% growth in tourism in 2016 compared to the previous year. Out of the 95 TN counties, DeKalb County had the 2nd highest percentage increase.
Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett announced Wednesday that visitors spent a total of $44.99 million in DeKalb County, an increase of 5.4% compared to the previous year, generating a total of $2.69 million in state and $6.04 million in local tax revenues, increases of 7.2% and 6.0%, respectively. A total of 320 DeKalb Countians are employed in tourism-related fields. These figures place DeKalb County third in total travel-related expenditures in the Upper Cumberland region behind the much larger Putnam and Cumberland counties.
Tennessee tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached an all-time record high of $19.3 billion in 2016, up 4.7 percent over the previous year, as reported by the U.S. Travel Association.
Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams was thrilled when she received the report. Upon hearing the news, Williams said, “The economic impact of tourism on DeKalb County is huge. We are so fortunate to have Center Hill Lake, Edgar Evins State Park, Appalachian Center for Craft, and our many diverse businesses that fuel our tourism revenues including our annual events such as the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival, DeKalb County Fair, Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour, and other local music and art events. Our small town charm, friendly people, and scenic beauty make DeKalb County a desirable place to live, work, play, and raise a family and all these factors keep our visitors coming back year after year.”