KINGSPORT - Events like the long-established races at Bristol Motor Speedway, a new Kingsport marching band festival scheduled to launch in October and a Kingsport marathon planned for 2008 may seem to have little in common.
But they and other such events help pump tourism money into local and state government coffers.
And that means more money stays in your household budget.
It works out to about $284 more a year in state and local sales taxes if you live in Sullivan County, according to calculations used in a PowerPoint presentation by Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Jud Teague.
Statewide, the 2005 impact of tourism on Tennessee was $12.08 billion, with a payroll of more than $4.8 billion, 173,730 employees, $624.3 million in state tax receipts and $353.4 million in local tax receipts, according to information from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and the Travel Industry Association of America Research Department.
Tourism in Sullivan County led Northeast Tennessee in economic impact. It generated $6.52 million in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available. With 72,240 households in the county, that works out to $90.26 per household that tourism generates for the county and city governments.
If state taxes are included, the number jumps to $284, Teague explained.
According to statistics compiled by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, tourism in Sullivan County accounted for $239.1 million in expenditures in 2005, a payroll of $71.5 million, 2,820 jobs, state tax receipts of $13.28 million and local tax receipts of $6.52 million.
In comparison, Washington County, which had the second-highest tourism impact in the region, had $170.14 million in tourism expenditures, $32.39 million in payroll, 1,740 employees, $10.09 million in state tax receipts and $3.94 million in local tax receipts.
While some of KCVB staff is promoting National Tourism Week events May 14-20, Teague and others will be working with the USSSA Super National Invitational Tournament May 17-20. So far, 90 teams have signed up but Teague and Heather Jones, director of marketing and communications for the KCVB, said that could easily grow to 200 or 300.
Teague said the Tennessee Valley Showcase band competition, to be co-sponsored by KCVB and the Dobyns-Bennett Marching Band, is the first in what he hopes to be a series of new "Kingsport-owned" events.
As part of the show, 28 bands will be invited to compete, and as the host band D-B will perform but not compete.
"I call those house events," Teague said. "You're not having to bid out for the event, on things such as the band festival."
This year, the KCVB helped draw nine sporting events, including the seminal AAU events. But Teague said the KCVB must grow its own events, so to speak, to keep things going. He said it is becoming increasingly difficult to draw some of the sporting events and that some mergers of age classifications will reduce the number of tournaments available and thus increase the competition for them.
He and his staff also are planning a December sports event. And Teague said his staff is working with Fun Fest officials to find ways to maximize its tourism potential.
For 2008, plans are under way to hold a fall marathon, actually a marathon, half-marathon and 5K race.
In addition, Teague and Barbara Kite, director of finance and office management for KCVB, said conventions and motorcoach tours also are important to Kingsport and the region's tourism.
He said the KCVB is working to put together a day trip stopping at the Gray Fossil Site and Bays Mountain and an overnight trip with those stops plus local historic sites.
For more information, visit www.visitkingsport.com.