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Scenic Sights: Chattanooga contributing to Tennessee's tourism growth

Tourism in Chattanooga - WTVC.PNG
The Tennessee Aquarium is the Chattanooga's number one destination for visitors, but it's far from the only attraction bringing people to the Scenic City. (Image: WTVC)

Millions of tourists are making their way to Tennessee, and the Scenic City is one of the top destinations.

When it comes to Chattanooga, it turns out tourists are drawn to water, and in many ways.

The Tennessee Aquarium is the city's number one destination for visitors, but it's far from the only attraction bringing people to the Scenic City.

By car and by plane, thousands of tourists are coming to check out Chattanooga every day. People like Charlie Rockman and his family from Tucson, Arizona.

"We've just been here a couple of days, but we went to Rock City yesterday," said Charlie, "Didn't know what to expect, but that was pretty amazing really."

More people want to see what The Volunteer State has offer.

According to a new report from Tennessee's Department of Tourism Development, 119 million domestic visitors stopped by last year. That's up six million from 2017.

Tourism in the Scenic City helped make those numbers possible.

"Chattanooga did see some good growth," says Barry White. He's the President and CEO of the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau.

He says the city's tourism rate is almost 5% ahead of what it was in 2017.

In fact, nearly 15,000 people stay at hotels in Chattanooga every night.

"They're in our community. They're out there eating, they're spending money, they're seeing our attractions, experiencing our lifestyle," said White.

According to White, on average visitors spend about $3 million every day in our community.

Chattanooga banks on tourists returning, and new ones visiting.

More than 9,000 people work in the tourism and hospitality industry in Chattanooga right now, and White says the industry is growing.

While the aquarium is the number one spot, White says Rock City, the Incline Railway, and Lake Winnie are all top contenders.

According to Tennessee's Department of Tourism Development, Nashville is the most visited city, followed by Memphis and the Smokey Mountains.

Chattanooga competes with Knoxville for the fourth and fifth spot.


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