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Nashville Tourism $9.97 Billion Industry, Here’s Why It’s a Top Global Travel Destination

by Staff

Tourists spend $27 million a day in Nashville, Tennessee. With more than 50% of the U.S. population living within 650 miles of the city, it’s a top travel destination with accolades from prestigious media outlets like Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and National Geographic. The Music City has a growing airport, a variety of accommodations, and activities that include enjoying live music, cultural attractions, and a diverse range of bars and restaurants. This is Southern hospitality at its best.

According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp, the city saw a 35% increase in direct visitor spending since 2021, driving its $9.97 billion tourism industry.

“Visiting Nashville is such a thrill,” says the editor of Sometimes Home, Mikkel Woodruff. “You can walk in the footsteps of country legends by day with a Behind the Scenes tour at the Grand Ole Opry or visit the Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash museums. You can see up-and-coming performers by night, anywhere from a ticketed venue — like the Ryman Auditorium to bars along Broadway.”

Seamless Airport Access

The Nashville International Airport (BNA) is one of the fastest-growing airports in North America. In 2022, the facility achieved a milestone by serving 20 million visitors. BNA continues to expand its airport to enhance the flights it offers, including nonstop options to London as well as direct flights to all five major cities in Canada. In 2023, the city expects 379,000 international visitors.

BNA is a seamless hub for millions passing through its gates who live, work, or want to vacation in Nashville and the surrounding area. Besides being the state capital, Nashville is the county seat of Davidson County, which brings in 34.5% of the state’s total visitor spending.

Diverse Accommodations for Every Traveler

The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corps estimates that 72% of people visiting Nashville stay overnight. Accommodations are as varied as the music that echoes from the bars into the streets. From trendy boutique hotels and the famous Gaylord Opryland Resort to five-star luxury hotels like the new Four Seasons overlooking the city and the Cumberland River, visitors have 495 hotels to choose from. With 72-plus more hotels on the horizon, including the Ritz-Carlton, travelers are sure to find the perfect place to meet their needs.

Iconic Things To Do in Music City

The options for listening to live music are endless in Music City. From catching a show at famous venues like the Bluebird Café, Ryman Auditorium, and the Grand Ole Opry to the honky tonks that line Lower Broadway, there’s no shortage of places to hear music. There are over 180 live music venues in town.

Nashville isn’t just a place for country music — all genres are popular. “If you love music of any kind, you can find it in Nashville,” says Heather Middleton, Chief Marketing Officer of Nashville Convention & Visitor Corp.

Music lovers can also tour iconic cultural attractions like the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Gibson Garage, and Third Man Records, home to American musician Jack White’s vinyl record label and venue, The Blue Room.

Rich Cultural Heritage

Exploring Nashville’s cultural heritage is a must, as well. There are many attractions to explore, from museums and art galleries to historical landmarks, providing a glimpse into the nation’s past. Must-sees include President Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, Printer’s Alley, Hatch Show Print, the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum, and more.

Travel writer Rachel Belkin of Probe the Globe recently visited Nashville, and said, “I liked the National Museum of African American Music and the intimate experience of hearing songwriters perform their hit songs at the Bluebird Café. I loved it so much that my family and I are planning a trip back over break.”

A Culinary Wonderland

For foodies seeking culinary adventures, the diverse range of restaurants and bars in Nashville offers a taste of Southern hospitality, local flavors, and cuisine from around the globe. The city boasts cherished local BBQ joints like Peg Leg Porker BBQ, classic Southern food at the Loveless Cafe, Japanese izakaya and sake bars including Present Tense, Italian cuisine at Mimo Restaurant and Bar inside the Four Seasons, Anatolia Turkish Restaurant, and Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant. It’s a destination for all palates.

Tennessee is a Great Place to Visit

Hailed as one of the 50 best places to travel in the world in 2023 by Travel + Leisure, Nashville is a fun town to visit. New things are constantly happening. Music artists are always performing or being discovered for the first time, while unique restaurants, pop-up bars, and hotels are opening.

Visitors can spend hours roaming the museums and art galleries or enjoying drinks at one of the many distilleries or Nashville’s only cidery, Diskin Cider. If visiting distilleries is your idea of a good time, make the 90-minute drive to Lynchburg, have lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant, and tour the Jack Daniel Distillery, the largest distillery in the world.

“Tennessee is thriving as tourism continues to soar, from our large cities to small towns,” said Mark Ezell, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. In 2022, Tennessee tourism generated nearly $29 billion in direct visitor spending and saw 141 million visitors statewide.

For those planning a road trip through Tennessee, Nashville is only a three-and-a-half-hour drive from one of America’s most visited parks, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and the quaint mountain town of Townsend — the peaceful side of the Smokies.


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