Chattanooga's solid hotel, tourism figures

Chattanooga's solid hotel, tourism figures

September 22nd, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

Our Chattanooga community is known far and wide as a manufacturing and commercial center, with industry and a variety of stores providing not only a vibrant economy but many jobs.

Chattanooga also has been important for many years as a tourist mecca.

We all know how our mountains, waterways and attractions such as Rock City, Ruby Falls, the Tennessee Aquarium and historic sites draw tourists from around the world. Those visitors pump millions of dollars into local circulation at hotels, motels, restaurants and other businesses, invigorating our whole economy.

It is good news, therefore, that tourism in Chattanooga is increasing.

From June 2010 to June of this year, Chattanooga's hotel tax revenue rose by nearly 19 percent. That was about double the growth of hotel tax revenue in other regional cities that compete for tourist dollars, and was almost double the 10 percent growth of hotel tax revenue nationwide.

That's remarkable, considering the weakness of the U.S. economy. Many people have pulled back on discretionary travel. But in fact, hotel tax revenue in Chattanooga has risen during three of the past four years, even as the national economy has sputtered.

We should appreciate our good fortune in living in an inviting, pleasant community, and strive to make it even more attractive to residents and visitors alike.