From Post staff reports
The U.S. may have been in a recession since last year, but tourists visiting Wilson County in 2008 apparently did not get the memo about it because travel-related expenditures increased more than 5 percent from 2007.
According to figures released by Ricky Rodriguez, director of the Wilson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, travel-related expenditures in Wilson County in 2008, the latest year for which figures are available, were $102.77 million, a 5.31 percent increase from the ’07 amount of $97 million.
That increase led to 901 travel-related jobs in Wilson in ’08, an increase of 3.1 percent from ’07. That in turn led to a 3.31 percent increase in travel-related payroll in ’08 of $19.25 million.
Travel-related Local Tax Receipts increased by 6.1 percent to more than $3 million. Travel-related State Tax Receipts were up by 4.6 percent to more than $6 million.
The increase in tourism and travel-related spending occurred even with higher fuel prices and the beginning of the recession.
“Tourism means more than dollars and cents to local residents,” Rodriguez said in a news release. “Visitors pay taxes (sales, lodging, meals, etc.) and contribute to the local economy. The taxes generated by visitors represent ‘tax relief’ for local residents. In other words, visitors to our community help pay taxes so that local residents don’t have to.” A full copy of the report may obtained by visiting the state tourism department online at www.state.tn.us/tourdev/.