Although the official numbers aren’t in yet, Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President Bob Doak said that leaders expect tourism revenue to exceed $1 billion for the first time this year.
Doak and other local leaders outlined tourism accomplishments Tuesday at the 73rd annual CVB luncheon.
“When we enhance the city, it’s not aimed at tourists,” Doak said. “It’s aimed at us. But once you create a great quality of life for your residents, tourists notice.”
Doak discussed all the events happening this weekend in Chattanooga, including the Ironman competition.
The five-year contract could have a $40 million economic impact, according to archives.
Doak said that leaders expect an $8 million economic impact this year.
The competition is a triathlon and consists of a 2.4-mile swim in the Tennessee River, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.
Nearly 3,000 people have signed up to participate in the triathlon.
Doak also said that Chattanooga wasn’t the highest bidder for the competition, although leaders made a competitive offer.
“We know how to roll out the red carpet for a group coming into this community,” he said. “We’ve built a reputation for knowing how to stage and produce world-class events.”
McKee Foods’ Little Debbie is the title sponsor of the Ironman competition, and Doak praised the company and said the event wouldn’t be possible without their investment.
-Revenue from tourism dollars saves Hamilton County households $500 every year, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said.
-Coppinger also said that millions of dollars that come from tourists go to Hamilton County schools.
-There are about 8,500 people who have jobs in Chattanooga thanks to the tourism industry, Coppinger said.
-Tourism is “strong and getting stronger,” Doak said.
-In the past 10 years, the economic impact of tourism has grown by 57 percent, Doak said, citing the U.S. Travel Association.
-Attendance at Chattanooga attractions this summer was up 10 percent compared to 2013, Doak also said.
-There are 9,000 hotel rooms in Hamilton County in about 100 different hotels. “We filled 8 percent more rooms this summer than last year,” Doak said.