FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Thursday, August 25, 2022
DOWNLOADABLE IMAGES: LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY WORKFORCE
Leisure And Hospitality Jobs Reach Record Numbers In Hamilton County This Summer
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (Aug. 25, 2022) – A new all-time record high of 31,300 people are employed in the leisure and hospitality industry in Hamilton County in July 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statics.
“We are very encouraged to see our employment levels in leisure and hospitality return and even exceed pre-pandemic levels,” says Barry White, President and CEO of Chattanooga Tourism Co. “With several attractions, restaurants, and hotels in various stages of development, plus the Chattanooga Airport’s planned expansion, the future is bright for job growth in hospitality in Chattanooga.”
As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the previous record for leisure and hospitality jobs in Hamilton County was before the pandemic in July 2019 at 31,200. In April 2020, the industry lost over 10,000 jobs, hitting a low of 17,500 employed during the pandemic shutdown. Hamilton County experienced a 30% drop in visitor spending or $450 million less in 2020 alone, according to a U.S. Travel study. In 2021, 7,900 jobs were recovered in Hamilton County, and for the first time in July 2022, the employment in leisure and hospitality in Hamilton County now exceeds pre-pandemic levels.
“Now more than ever, there is so much opportunity in tourism to gain professional skills, advance quickly, and build a life-long career,” says Hugh Morrow, Chairman of the Chattanooga Tourism Co. and President and CEO of Ruby Falls. “Although we have reached a new high of employment, there are still many exciting career opportunities available within all sectors of the tourism industry.”
Annually, Chattanooga hosts more than 15 million visitors who spend $1.5 billion in one year in our community. On an average day, that’s roughly 40,000 visitors in town. 15,000 of those visitors stay the night in our hotels and spend $4.1 million per day on entertainment, shopping, dining, and more. In addition to directly supporting our local businesses, visitors are temporary taxpayers who save every Hamilton County household $868 per year in taxes.
In 2021, the Chattanooga Tourism Co. launched its Hospitality is Hiring campaign to recruit people in the southeast region to find employment in the leisure and hospitality industry in Hamilton County. While the workforce has reached a notable milestone, Chattanooga Tourism Co. is committed to continuing to support its partners through a full recovery. Because of Chattanooga’s consistent growth, more opportunities continue to arise within the industry. Leisure and sports travel reached record levels in 2021, while business, meetings, and convention travel are still in recovery. Chattanooga Tourism Co. has compiled a list of job openings from its tourism partners, including restaurants, accommodations, attractions, and other hospitality-related businesses and posted them to VisitChattanooga.com/Careers.
Chattanooga Tourism Co. will celebrate this milestone on September 20th at the 2022 Chattanooga Tourism Summit. The Summit includes a State of the Tourism Industry by Chief Executive Officer Barry White; keynote by award-winning travel TV host Samantha Brown; VIP Meet & Greet with Samantha Brown; exhibitor showcase; live entertainment by Chattanooga buskers; and post-summit professional development breakout sessions. Registration is required to attend. For more information, go to VisitChattanooga.com/Summit.
The Chattanooga Tourism Co. serves the community by using visitor-generated funds to inspire people to visit and connect them with authentic Chattanooga experiences. Visitor spending contributes to a quality of place, resident savings, thriving local businesses, job creation, capital investment, and public services including education and safety. The 700+ Tourism Co. partners represent a variety of industries including lodging, dining, food and beverage, attractions, manufacturing, finance, government, healthcare, retail, and more.
MEDIA CONTACT: Hannah Hammon, Chattanooga Tourism Co.
Hannah@ChattanoogaTourism.com or 256-996-5788