JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – In 2021 data released by the state, Northeast Tennessee counties saw significant rebounds in tourism dollars across nearly every metric reported.

The report, compiled by the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association (NTTA), covered multiple counties in News Channel 11’s coverage area:

  • Carter County;
  • Greene County;
  • Hawkins County;
  • Johnson County;
  • Sullivan County;
  • Unicoi County;
  • and Washington County.

You can read the full table below:

Across News Channel 11’s Tennessee coverage area, tourism generated $772,140,000 out of a state total of $24.2 billion.

“When we say a tourist, it’s typically going to be somebody that’s almost three hours away,” said Alicia Phelps with NTTA. “It may be a day trip, but they’re predominantly going to be spending a few days with us.”

Tourists spent the most in Sullivan County at nearly $304 million, followed by Washington County at roughly $281 million. Washington County supported the most jobs in the region at 2,580, with a slight lead over Sullivan County.

Phelps said the report provides a crucial insight into how her industry is doing, and helps them prepare and adapt.

“We were really really excited to number crunch,” Phelps said. “And see that Northeast Tennessee was a big player in that $24 billion number.”

Compared to 2020 tourism data, every county saw a rise in tourist spending, employee pay and tax revenues. Hawkins County saw no rises in tourism employment, but reported a jump in total pay in the industry.

The across-the-board rise in local tourism metrics accompanies a new state record for tourism spending, according to state data.

“That is a huge impact right back into Northeast Tennessee that a lot of the residents can see through quality of life enhancements,” Phelps said. “New businesses popping up, and it also saves each household quite a number in taxes.”