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Economic Data on Tourism


Chattanooga Tourism Reports


Riverbend 2015 

Riverbend brings thousands of visitors to the region annually with a 2-week lineup of renown bands and musicians. Located right on the river front, this festival is an economic and cultural driver. Riverbend 2015 generated an estimated $25 million direct economic impact. A detailed report can be viewed below.

Riverbend Economic Report (2015)


Ironman 2014

 IRONMAN Chattanooga hosted over 2500 participants and more than 20,000 spectators over 3 days. Many of these were visitors, traveling from around the world and staying in the area for up to 2 weeks for training and leisure. The total direct impact is estimated at just over $10 million, with indirect and induced impacts totaling over $13 million. This event will remain in Chattanooga for the next 4 years, with a Half-Ironman to be added in the spring. These events are clearly an economic asset to the area. See the full report below, and find other reports based on the data collected at IRONMAN (athlete training & injuries, resident attitudes, etc.) on the Regional Tourism page.

-Ironman Economic Impact Report (2014)



 RiverRocks Outdoor Festival (2013)                                  

The RiverRocks outdoor festival takes place in Chattanooga, TN for a multiple weeks in October.  It consists of numerous outdoor activities and competitions including:

Regatta rowing race, StumpJump 50K and 11 mile trail race, the Triple Crown Bouldering Series and many more.  The festival brings in visitors from different regions of the country and serves as a celebration of Chattanooga's tremendous outdoor culture.  This study was done with the intention of determining the economic impact of visitors brought to the area for the RiverRocks festival. Due to the variety of the events, data were limited to five key events.  These 5 events brought an estimated 8,736 visitors to the area who spent an average of $428.68 while in the area.  Overall, the festival appears to have had a positive impact on the Chattanooga economy.

-River Rocks economic impact, 2013

-Research day poster (Tourists), 2013

-Research day poster (Residents), 2013



USA Cycling Championships (2013) 

-Hosting the USA Cycling Professional Road Championships in Chattanooga, TN was not only a testament to the area's excellent cycling infrastructure, but also a great asset to the local economy.  The event took place between May 25th and May 27th, 2013.  One of the main characteristics of this event is that it brought at least 1641 visitors to Chattanooga.  Almost all of the race participants were from outside the area, with only 1.4% of all participants being Hamilton County residents.  This translates to approximately 3776 paid hotel room nights. Aside from hotels, area restaurants and shops also benefited greatly from the event.  In total, direct expenditures in the Chattanooga, TN area associated with the event's presence was approximately $1,048,692, with this estimate being on the conservative side.  Environmental and cultural impacts on the area are not assessed in this study.

-Executive Summary

-Full Economic Impact Report 


  (In Progress)

Rock-climbing Impact on Hamilton County

Thousands of rock-climbers come through the Hamilton County region every year to take advantage of some of the best sandstone crags the country has to offer. An increase in youth climbing clubs and competitions also results in an increase of family travel to competition sites. While here, climbers stay in hotels, eat in local restaurants, and purchase gear at local stores. This study began in September, 2015 and will continue through the peak climbing season in Chattanooga (April, 2016). If all goes as planned, it will be the most comprehensive account of the climbing economy ever produced.


RiverRocks 2015

The 2013 economic impact study was a good start, but this revised study will include participant data from all races and events. Currently in progress, this report will likely be posted in late November, 2015.



 Secondary Resources 

-Benchmark Study Values Adventure Tourism Market at 89 billion dollars, 2010

-Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Industries: Economic Profile and Business Trends, 2006

-Ecotourism: Principles, Practices, and Policies for Sustainability, 2002