- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tourism spending in Tennessee reached a record $17.7 billion in 2014 as more than 100 million people visited the state, Gov. Bill Haslam announced Tuesday.

The spending represents a 6 percent increase over the previous year, while tourism-related jobs grew by nearly 3 percent to about 153,000 positions.

State and local sales tax revenue from the tourism industry were more than $1.5 billion, and international travel increased more than 8 percent to $577 million. The largest number of foreign tourists came from Britain, Germany and Canada.

“The message is that Tennessee is increasingly becoming an international tourist destination, and all of us are benefiting from that,” Haslam said at a news conference at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. “And we’re getting to show off our state a little bit.”

All 95 counties received more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures. Davidson, Shelby and Sevier counties experienced the biggest economic impact related to tourism, with more than $1 billion each.

Tourists in Nashville spent more than $5 billion in 2014, up 9 percent.

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