Tournaments Great News For Local Economy

Photo courtesy of Lauren Hurdle

Photo courtesy of Lauren Hurdle

The weather is warm, the local lakes are near or above full pool and the fish are biting. All of that is good news for the local economy. With four tournaments down and ten more to go before winter moves into the area, Jefferson County lakes are on the radar for anglers all across the nation. In total, more than 3,000 anglers are expected to drop their lines in local waters this year and their visits will keep the cash registers ringing for local businesses.

The State of Tennessee formula for dollars spent per angler is $25 per angler per day. While that appears to be a conservative estimate, many anglers travel with their own rolling homes and take up residence in local campgrounds for the term of the tournament. But, a fair share of anglers stay in local motels and eat at local restaurants. Many also bring with them their own entourage who stay, play, shop and dine in local eateries and with local businesses. Those auxiliary dollars are not a part of the state formula and are just well welcomed “extras”.

Tourism Director for Jefferson County, Lauren Hurdle also sees an added benefit from the tournaments. “Fishing tournaments are a great way to introduce our beautiful community to people who might not have ever traveled this way before. They come and enjoy our lakes and recreation, shop in our stores and stay in our hotels and campgrounds, not to mention eating in our local establishments. Next time they are planning a vacation or traveling through the area, the end goal is that they return to Jefferson County. The anglers and their families come into town for a few days and become part of our community. They come back and visit us from time to time, leaving us with a smile and leaving behind sales tax dollars.”

Sales tax dollars are one of the few avenues of revenue that the County and municipalities have to garner funds beyond property tax and the fluctuation of those dollars is closely watched by state and local government. Tennessee brings in around $1.7 billion annually in local and state sales tax that is directly related to tourism. While Jefferson County is just beginning to investigate the possibilities of tourism as an important part of the local economy, it is obvious that tourism dollars are on the climb. Hurdle said “ Tourism dollars are particularly sweet because, unlike sales tax generated by locals, tourist do not need the services that residents do. No schools, no residential road improvements, no residential garbage pickup, they just come, play and stay and leave their sales tax dollars to benefit our community.”

Jefferson Farmers Co-op 08112014