Chattanooga Tourism Fared Better Than State And National Average in 2020

Photo Credit: CC

Published March 11, 2021 

[By The Tennessee Conservative Staff] –

Chattanooga, TN – In the recently released Chattanooga Tourism Report, Chattanooga Tourism Co. Outlined why the City fared better than the rest of the state and the nation with tourism during the peak times of the pandemic. 

The report states, “In a normal year, saying we were down 11% and being proud of that would be surprising. But when the nation is down 42% and Tennessee is down 16%, it’s something we should all be proud of.” 

Chattanooga, Tennessee At Night

At the peak of shutdowns due to the pandemic, 10,000 Hamilton County residents lost their job in tourism. Businesses closed, and for the vast majority, revenues were lower – and for many, significantly lower. 

The CEO of the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inc., Barry White, said, “2020 was a storm like we’ve never seen in our lifetimes. A storm that didn’t just hit one neighborhood, state or country, but the whole world.” 

“And while we may have all faced the same storm, we all had different boats. Chattanooga’s boat was built by a resilient community working together and lifting each other up,” White said, “We responded quickly, decisively and while focusing on the safety of our neighbors and guests.” 

White stated that tourism in Chattanooga is essential to maintain area resident’s way of life.   

For this reason, he says, “Last year, Chattanooga Tourism Co. transitioned from a destination marketing organization to a destination leadership organization, and we take this responsibility to heart.” 

“Our role is to enhance the lifestyle and create economic opportunities for Hamilton County residents. We do this through tourism, and we experienced what happens when tourism disappears,” White said, “The things we love most about Chattanooga are attractive to visitors. And without visitors supporting our businesses, we could not economically maintain the quality of life as we know it.” 

According to the Tourism Report, marketing efforts and safety messaging, combined with Chattanooga’s drivability for 15M+ Southerners and its outdoors reputation, created a scenario where Chattanooga fared better.  

Through the pandemic, Chattanooga outperformed Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville in hotel demand and every county in the state in amusement spending. 

The report states that 85% of the 10,000 jobs lost in tourism last year were recovered by the end of the year.  

For 2021, Chattanooga Tourism Co. States they will continue to move forward on their 3-year strategic plan, with adjustments made to ensure they are paying attention to the unique challenges of the era of COVID-19. 

The highlights of their 2021 Business Plan Includes: 


• Develop new printed publication that delivers on brand promise  

• Advance brand awareness among meetings and sports planners  

• Research, establish partnerships and develop DEI target market segments  

• Expand earned media opportunities and influencer activations 


• Formalize a segmented group and leisure sales strategy and plan  

• Advance a comprehensive sports tourism strategy  

• Review and enhance all group and leisure visitor services 


• New visitor information dissemination plan and/or location  

• Implement destination training program valued by partners  

• Develop tourism master plan for the social and economic prosperity of our community 


• Implement a tourism advocacy plan  

• Evolve and market new partnership program 


• Submit DMAP application to achieve accreditation  

• Execute long-term plan for the Chattanooga Tourism Foundation 

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