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Tourism strong as economy tries to improve

11:49 AM, Jun 15, 2012   |    comments
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PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee tourism officials say they are surprised but delighted that a strong surge in visits to the Volunteer State is leading economic recovery.

Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker spoke to the Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association on Thursday and said vacation spending usually lags in times of improving economic conditions. Whitaker said pent-up travel demand is apparently propelling the uptick in tourist spending in Tennessee.

The Mountain Press reported Whitaker's assessment echoed that of by University of Tennessee Tourism Institute Director Steve Morse.

Whitaker noted that the tourism boom isn't confined to the mountains, but said Nashville and Memphis are also showing dramatic increases in visits.

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