Nashville’s tourism industry broke another record with 15.2 million visitors to the city in 2018, an increase of almost 5 percent over 2017’s 14.5 million visitors, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp announced Monday.
A record New Year’s Eve event capped off the year with an all-time high $23 million in direct visitor spending over 2017’s $22.3 million. As previously announced, attendance at Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville was approximately 175,000 to 200,000, a record attendance over 2015’s 150,000.
Nashville Mayor David Briley: “2018 was another remarkable year for our city’s tourism industry. Major events like our New Year’s Eve and July 4th celebrations, the continued success of our sports teams, our ever-growing entertainment and music scenes, and even the establishment of British Airways’ nonstop flight from London once again showed that Nashville is a worldwide destination. The momentum will surely continue this year with the NFL Draft in April and Gold Cup soccer returning to Nissan Stadium in July. We should all be proud of our city and be grateful for the hard-working men and women who make our tourism industry thrive.”
Ronnie Smith, Head of Corporate Bank, Regions Bank, who serves as chair of the NCVC board of directors, said: “Butch Spyridon and the NCVC team he leads once again produced an incredible Music City Midnight for the city. Their success in marketing Nashville around the world resulted in a New Year’s Eve event with record attendance, record visitor spending and national and international exposure on NBC and CNN. I can’t think of a better way to end a year that saw the most visitors ever to come to our city, and I look forward to another successful year for the hospitality industry in 2019.”
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.
Key statistics about Nashville’s hospitality industry:
- The number of hotel rooms in Nashville has grown to 30,590, compared to 26,175 rooms five years ago.
- There are 5,014 hotel rooms under construction with another 8,995 that are in the stages of final planning/planning/prospect with a total of 14,009 rooms in the pipeline.
- 20 new hotel properties have opened or will open in 2019; 15 properties opened in 2018 with nine in 2017 and five in 2016.
- 133 new restaurants/bars opened in 2018, compared to 113 in 2017 and 90 in 2016. Already, 60 have been announced and are expected to open in 2019.
- Nashville International Airport (BNA) is one of the fastest growing airports in North America. It served almost 16 million passengers in 2018 on 14 airlines with 460 total daily flights to 70+ nonstop destinations.
For the third year in a row, Music City Midnight was held at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park with Grammy-winner and 2018 CMA Entertainer of the Year Keith Urban as the headliner. Coverage included “NBC’s New Year’s Eve” national broadcast live from Times Square in New York City and on CNN. It was the tenth annual celebration. The event was free and open to the public.
The lineup also included Grammy-winning rocker Peter Frampton; country artist Brett Young, the Academy of Country Music’s New Male Vocalist of the Year; genre-bending rock/pop band Judah & the Lion; critically-acclaimed pop-rock singer/songwriter Caitlyn Smith; contemporary soul and rock artist Devon Gilfillian; and the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Grammy-winning DJ Dave Audé also was on the bill.
Key facts about Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville:
- For the first time, California emerged as a Top 5 feeder state to the event. Other top states visitors came from were Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia and Missouri.
- 23,848 hotel rooms were sold in Nashville for New Year’s Eve. That was 545 more rooms than were sold in 2017 for New Year’s Eve and 2,964 more than in 2012, the last time New Year’s Eve fell on a Monday.
- 65 percent of visitors said they stayed in hotels and 17% in home rentals, as the trend toward home rentals continues. In 2017, 68% were in hotels and 14% in home rentals.
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