Substantial Increases in Tourism Dollars Coming to Unicoi County

New Reports Shows Tourism Revenue in Unicoi County Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels

A 35% increase in tourism in Unicoi County says that Real. Wild. Living. is what visitors love.

A new economic report from the State of Tennessee and Symphony Tourism Economics reports record-setting, year-over-year growth in tourism dollars spent in Unicoi County in 2021.  The report, which provides economic data shows a 35% increase in visitor spending, which is nearly as much as 2019, and the second highest tourism revenue year in the past seven years.

“We’re very excited about the direction Unicoi County is heading in attracting more visitors to our region,” explains Austin Finch, Economic Development Director for Erwin Utilities. “Our county has some of the most compelling outdoor resources in the Southeast, and more people are embracing our community as a travel destination.”

This newest report shows that Unicoi County enjoyed substantial increases in many market segments directly related to visitor spending.  The two largest markets that grew in 2021 were Food and Beverage at $5.97M in revenue (a 35% increase over 2020), and Accommodations at $3.39M in revenue (an increase of 46% over the previous year).

Mr. Finch stated, “The local impact on these tourism dollars will go a long way in helping us reinvest in the region.  The support of the local leadership to highlight our tourism resources has helped us attract more small businesses, major employers, and direct tourism service providers to invest in Unicoi County. As we continue to grow our tourism reputation to a wider array of visitors, we are looking to help our communities grow and thrive.”

The growth in tourism revenue last year directly generated $1.4M in state and local tax revenue, which translated in a considerable improvement on the local tax burden for residents. Tourism dollars also helped create new jobs as more businesses came to Unicoi County.  The Symphony Tourism Economics research reported the region saw $3.3M in direct labor income from tourism, and a total of $5.4M in labor income that was influenced by visitor spending.



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