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Another Record Year for Tennessee Tourism?

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A new report from the U.S. Department  of Commerce is likely good news for the Tennessee economy. Spending by international travelers visiting the U.S. jumped by 11 percent in the first half of the year.

The federal report says international visitors poured more than $82 billion into the U.S. economy through the end of June, putting the tourism industry on track for another record year. Commerce says international visitors could spend nearly $170 billion in the U.S. by year’s end.

David Nicholson is Tennessee’s European Representative for State Tourism. He says anecdotal evidence suggests Tennessee is already exceeding the national average for the growth of international tourism and says the state is uniquely placed to grow the sector even further.

“The demand for authentic Americana from Europeans is just growing and growing and growing. There are very few destinations in the U.S. that have the kind of tourism infrastructure that Tennessee offers, from the Smokies, to Nashville, to Memphis. I mean, there really are very few states that can match up with us.”

The State Tourism office says foreign travelers spent$14 billion dollars in Tennessee in 2010. French Tourists are the fastest growing segment of the state’s international visitors.

Mike Osborne is the News Director for WMOT and can be heard on-air daily.