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Keisling Works On $500,000 Grant For Tennessee Marinas

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Keisling Works On $500,000 Grant For Tennessee Marinas

Representative Kelly Keisling has secured new grant money designed to help marinas across the state further their tourism efforts.

Keisling said it is a $500,000 waterways accessibility recreation grant that was established through a budget amendment he made in collaboration with Senator Ken Yager. Keisling said the Tennessee Marina Association brought the idea to him and Yager and they both felt it would provide vital support for their districts.

“Back to our districts, I mean, we, we have, our biggest economic driver is tourism here in both our senate and house districts up here in the north, northern middle area of our state, so that’s the reason. That’s the reason we were focusing on it,” Keisling said.

Keisling said marinas that receive this grant are expected to use the funds in ways that will support tourism, which he said can come in various forms such as improving docks or restaurants, purchasing new rental boats, or establishing billboards. He said he hopes the new support for marinas will also provide more jobs for local citizens.

“These are economic drivers,” Keisling said. “Each marina is an economic driver in its own community, so no, it comes down to jobs, which we certainly need up our way.”

Keisling said marinas provide millions of dollars in tourism income for the state. He said tourism as a whole generated $28.9 billion in direct visitor spending during 2022, which is a 19% increase from 2021.

“We rank number eleven in the nation for travel spending,” Keisling said. “So we are a tourism state, no question about it.”

Keisling said income from international visitors increased by 278% from 2021 to 2022, with a total around $670 million. He said that revenue began increasing around the pandemic.


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