Tennessee: 2020 tourism decline not as bad as nation’s rate

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee officials say the state saw a lower rate of decline in tourism spending than the country as a whole in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development says the state had $16.8 billion in domestic and international travel spending last year in a report from the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics.

That’s a 31.6% decline from the previous year, compared with a 42% drop for the nation at large.

The numbers coincide with efforts from Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s administration to drum up tourism amid the pandemic.

The approach has also drawn critics who think the state isn’t doing enough to fight the pandemic.

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