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Putnam County Improves Tourism, Ranked 16th In State

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

Putnam County maintained its 16th rank among Tennessee counties in tourism last year.

Tourists spent over $145 million while visiting Putnam County resulting in almost $3 million of local taxes. Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau Executive Director Molly Brown said the growth proves Putnam County is becoming tourism hot spot.

“Putnam County is definitely becoming a destination,” Brown said. “I think that we have seen increases in visitation in recent years, especially since we launched our rebranding campaign back in 2015.”

The county saw increases in state and local taxes, employment, payroll and visitor spending.Brown said revenues will decrease for 2020, but tourism is slowly growing. The visitor’s bureau is taking advantage of the pandemic by advertising outdoor activities.

“Obviously, we are concerned with the numbers, we know the numbers of 2020 will be down,” Brown said. “In April, we saw revenues down 62 percent. Currently, the most recent ones for July show they are still down but only down 23.5 percent.”

In 2018, tourist spent $140 million in the county. County tourism yielded $8.8 million in state tax revenue and just under $27 million in payroll. Brown said rising in the tourism rankings is difficult, but her goal is to be in the top 15.

“It is our job to inspire travel and overnight stays that result in an increase in sales and lobbying tax revenues for Putnam County and provide a tax relief for our local residents,” Brown said. “The more we can package and market to the visitor outside of our area and encourage them to come to Putnam County and spend money. Then that helps offset the cost of taxes for our local residents.”

Tennessee tourism generated over $23 billion in 2019. Overall, traveling in Tennessee generated 195,000 jobs and $1.92 billion in tax revenues.



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