Giraffe Feeding at the Memphis Zoo
Craig Thompson

Tourism Economic Impact

Focus in on the story and statistics around the economic impact of tourism on Memphis, Tennessee. 


  • 2019 Annual Visitors: 12.4M+
  • Leisure & Hospitality Jobs in Shelby County in 2018: 49K+
  • Leisure & Hospitality Businesses in Shelby County: 2,000+
  • 2018 Annual Economic Impact of Domestic Visitors: $3.65B
  • State Tax Receipts Generated: $179.5M
  • Local Tax Receipts Generated: $101M


The top travel motivators for Memphis visitors include paying their respects to Memphis music legends like Elvis, B.B. King and Johnny Cash; experiencing our current live music scene and the Memphis nightlife in person, especially Beale Street; tasting our world-famous barbeque; and most importantly, spending quality time making memories with friends and family.
Over three-quarters of all Memphis attraction visitors report experiencing the music unique to Memphis was a key reason they chose to come here, ranking the importance of Memphis as a seven or above on a scale of ten—and over 60 percent of these music-influenced travelers ranked music as a nine or a ten in importance.
Only 15 percent of Memphis attraction visitors reported that experiencing live music was not a priority for them during their trip to Memphis; over three-quarters of surveyed Memphis attraction visitors had either already experienced live music during their trip or reported having definite plans to seek out a live music experience during their time here.
Memphis Tourism's
2020 Annual Report


Based on personal interviews with 1,300 actual Memphis attraction visitors, we have considerable insight into the characteristics of a Memphis attraction visitors
  • Average Number of Adults in Attraction Travel Parties: 2.4 Adults
  • Share of Memphis Attraction Travel Parties that Include Children: 34%
  • Average Number of Children in Attraction Family Travel Parties: 2 Children
  • Average Nightly Expenditures for Attraction Travel Parties: $398 Nightly
  • Average Length of Stay for Attraction Leisure Travel Parties: 2.4 Nights
  • Share of Attraction Travel Parties Staying Overnight: 77%
  • Share of Overnight Attraction Travel Parties Staying in Hotels: 66%


  • Total Number of Memphis MSA Hotel Rooms: 24,658
  • Total Number of Hotel Rooms Downtown: 3,326


Based on information from the US Travel Economic Review of Travel in America, 2019 Edition
  • 2.3 billion domestic person-trips were taken in the U.S. in 2018, up 1.9 percent from 2017.
  • 79.6 million international visitors arrived in the U.S. in 2018, up 3.5 percent from 2017.
  • 39.9 million international visits were from overseas (excluding Canada and Mexico), a 2.5 percent increase from 2017.
  • Nearly $1.1 trillion was spent by domestic and international travelers in 2018, up 4.9 percent from 2017.
  • Domestic and international travel spending generated 8.9 million jobs in 2018, up 1.3 percent from 2017.
  • Travel spending generated $268 billion in wages and salaries for American workers, up 3.6 percent from 2017.
  • Travel spending also raised $171 billion in tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments, up 4 percent from 2017.
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