NASHVILLE – Nashville’s tourism industry broke another record with 16.1 million visitors to the city in 2019, an increase of 6 percent over 2018’s 15.2 million visitors, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp announced today.
A record New Year’s Eve event capped off the year with an all-time high $26.6 million in direct visitor spending, a 16 percent increase over 2018’s $23 million at Music City Midnight. Additionally, 2019 saw the most hotel rooms sold on New Year’s Eve at 25,529 rooms, which was 1,681 more rooms over last year. As previously announced, attendance at the free Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville was more than 200,000, a record over 2018’s estimate of 175,000 to 200,000.
As part of the New Year’s Eve event, the NCVC partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to collect donated items for the food bank. During a food drive throughout December and at the event, the NCVC and its partners collected over 7,500 pounds of food that will feed over 8,300 meals to people experiencing hunger.
For the eighth year in a row, Music City was recognized as a top destination to go in the world. Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes and The Sun (U.K.) ranked Nashville among international cities to visit in 2020. Additionally, Sports Business Journal named Nashville as the Best Sports City in the country for 2019, largely on the strength of the 2019 NFL Draft, which the NCVC brought to Nashville on behalf of the city and successfully implemented in partnership with the NFL.
“Nashville should be proud of sustaining our momentum as a top destination, bringing in a record number of visitors from all over the world,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said. “Our hospitality industry is thriving and will continue to play a critical role in generating revenue for both our local economy and essential city services.”
If not for state and local taxes generated by tourist activity, each Davidson County household would pay nearly $2,000 more in taxes each year.
Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University and chairman of the NCVC board, said, “Music City Midnight continues to be a world-class event, and Nashvillians are fortunate they can attend it right in their backyard for free. For the second year in a row, national exposure on NBC and CNN brought global attention to the city and generated marketing benefits that we could never afford to buy.”
Nashville’s success as a convention and leisure destination revolves around its Music City brand, along with the success of the Music City Center and strong convention bookings, the opening of new hotels and restaurants, the popularity of Lower Broadway, plentiful festivals and attractions, and thriving dining, makers/retail and sports scenes.
The NCVC continues to partner with city leaders on key community issues associated with growth and development, including transit, workforce development and preserving neighborhood character, which are key components of the NCVC’s strategic plan.
Key facts about Nashville’s hospitality industry:
- Nashville sold about the same number of hotel rooms last year as Tampa and Philadelphia, and more than New Orleans, San Antonio, Charleston, and Austin.
- The number of hotel rooms in Nashville has grown to 33,200, compared to 30,600 last year.
- There are 5,030 hotel rooms under construction with another 9,614 that are in the stages of final planning/planning/prospect with a total of 14,644 rooms in the pipeline.
- 17 new properties with 3,455 rooms are scheduled to open in 2020, including three properties with 446 rooms that have already opened this year. 18 new hotel properties opened in 2019; 15 properties opened in 2018 with nine in 2017 and five in 2016.
- 112 new restaurants/bars/cafes opened in 2019, the third year in a row to exceed 100 openings. Already, 109 have been announced and are expected to open in 2020.
- Nashville International Airport (BNA) is one of the fastest-growing airports in North America. It served nearly 18.3 million passengers in 2019 on 14 airlines with 540 total daily flights to 75 nonstop destinations.
For the fourth year in a row, Music City Midnight was held at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and featured a Music Note Drop at midnight, headliner Keith Urban, a multi-genre concert lineup of Nashville-based talent and live coverage on two national broadcasts: “NBC’s New Year’s Eve 2020” and CNN’s “New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen.” It was the eleventh annual celebration.
Joining the lineup with Urban were special guests rock legend Stevie Nicks and Ashley McBryde, the reigning Academy of Country Music New Female Artist of the Year and CMA New Artist of the Year; Americana powerhouse Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit; English rock band The Struts; Americana award winner Amanda Shires, who is also a member of The 400 Unit and critically-acclaimed new band The Highwomen; rising stars Bren Joy and Kalie Shorr; the Fisk Jubilee Singers; and GRAMMY-winner DJ Dave Audé.
Key facts about Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville:
- Average length of stay by visitors was 3.5 nights, up from 3 nights in 2018.
- Most visitors, 62 percent, stayed in hotels with 15 percent staying with friends and family. Twelve percent stayed in home rentals, marking the first time since 2016 that home rental wasn’t the second choice for accommodations.
- Thirty percent of those surveyed said they flew to Nashville with 70 percent saying they drove.
- Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said Music City Midnight/New Year’s Eve was the purpose of their visit to Nashville.
- Top states where visitors came from included Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, California, Illinois, Alabama, Ohio, Georgia, Texas, and Indiana.
The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp
The mission of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp is to maximize the economic contribution of the convention and tourism industry to the community by developing and marketing Nashville as a premier destination. Visit the NCVC’s website at www.visitmusiccity.com and follow us on social media: