by Matt Alderton | January 26, 2017

Nashville is known for country music and hot chicken, but increasingly it's also known for tourism, with a record 13.9 million visitors in 2016, according to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. (NCVC). This is up from the previous record of 13.5 million in 2015.

"America's friendliest city continues to be a destination for travelers the world over who want to enjoy a unique experience in a warm and welcoming environment," said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. "Nashville's investments in our tourist industry continue to pay off in ways that create jobs, grow our economy, and generate tax revenue that's used to improve the quality of life for all residents. Thank you to the nearly 60,000 hospitality industry employees who work hard every day to make Nashville's visitors feel at home."

Over the last 10 years, annual visitation to Nashville has increased 45 percent, according to NCVC, which said the number of visitors in 2006 was just 9.6 million.

But it wasn't just visitation that reached new highs in 2016. It also was hotel room sales and taxes, both of which set new records last year: The number of hotel rooms sold in Nashville reached 7.307 million in 2016, up from 7.067 million in 2015, while hotel tax collections reached $61.1 million.

New Year's Eve was a particularly strong tourism day, according to NCVC Board Chair Beth Seigenthaler Courtney, managing partner and president of DVL Seigenthaler. On that day alone, she said, Nashville sold 24,558 hotel rooms, compared to 24,346 in 2015. Meanwhile, the city hosted approximately 100,000 people for its New Year's Eve bash downtown.

"Selling out virtually every hotel room in the city reflects the strength of Nashville as a top destination," Courtney said. "While offering attendees a diverse lineup of great live music, including superstar Keith Urban, we also generated positive global media attention and enormous economic activity for the city."

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