According to the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s most recent numbers, DeKalb County had the highest percentage increase in every tourism category for the 14-county Upper Cumberland region last year.
Current numbers show DeKalb County is up 8.3 percent from the previous year, for a total of $39.34 million, a $4.63 million increase over the previous year. These figures place DeKalb County third in total travel-related expenditures in the Upper Cumberland behind the much larger Putnam and Cumberland counties.
Travel-related employment was up 4.6 percent, for a total of 270 jobs. Travel-related payroll increased 6.5 percent, totaling $7.064 million. DeKalb County tourism dollars generated $2.180 million (an 8.4 percent increase over the previous year) in state tax receipts. An additional $5.1 million (a 9.5 prcent increase) was collected for local tax receipts.
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 blessed to have Center Hill Lake, Edgar Evins State Park, and the Appalachian Center for Craft, as well as great events such as the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival, Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour, and other local music and art events. The small town charm, friendly people, and scenic beauty that you find from Smithville, Dowelltown, Liberty, and Alexandria keep people coming back and make it a desirable place to live, work, play, and raise a family.”
Only 44 of the 95 Tennessee counties had an increase in all travel-related categories including domestic travel expenditures, employment, payroll income, and local and state tax receipts. DeKalb County was not only one of those counties, but had the highest percentage of growth in the Upper Cumberland region in every category.
The study was conducted by the research department of the U.S. Travel Association for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. For more information on tourism opportunities in DeKalb County, go to www.dekalbtn.com.