JOHNSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has designated a section of Johnson County one of the state’s newest “Adventure Tourism Districts.”
According to department spokesperson Amanda Murphy, the “designation allows qualified businesses that locate within the district to earn a jobs tax credit to offset a portion of the business’ Tennessee franchise and excise tax liability.”
Those include hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses.
Murphy said there’s a required $500,000 capital investment and the business must create at least 10 jobs. There’s also a jobs tax credit business plan requirement.
For an area to qualify for adventure tourism district designation, an application packet is sent to the state. The packet includes a resolution from the local government authorizing the creation, a parcel map of the proposed district and a notarized letter from the local government mayor or executive confirming a business plan. According to a state website, the plan “must be based on ‘quantifiable data demonstrating that the creation of an adventure tourism district would enhance sustainable economic development in the area’ (T.C.A. § 11-11-204b).”
According to information from Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the revenue collected by the counties also helps determine district approval. Numbers provided by the office show that in 2018, Johnson County generated $10.1 million in direct tourism expenditures and produced $2 million in payroll. The numbers also show that the taxes generated by tourism saves each household $194.80 in local and state taxes.
According to a Facebook post, the new adventure tourism district includes the Doe Mountain Recreation Area. The Johnson County district fully envelops an area bordered by State Highways 67, 167 and U.S. 421.
“I should emphasize the new Adventure Tourism District will include a large area surrounding the Doe Mountain Recreation Area, which we hope will lead to serious increases in our economic impact,” said Tate Davis, the executive director for the Doe Mountain Recreation Authority.
There are eight other Adventure Tourism Districts in Northeast Tennessee. According to the state of Tennessee, seven of those are in Carter County and one in the city of Kingsport.