As the 2016 presidential election season progresses, heated debates will ensue from cable news to the kitchen table. While partisan politics may get divisive, there’s one thing that anyone—blue, red or purple—can get behind this year:  the power of travel in America.

That’s why, as part of National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) 2016, May 1-7, our industry is campaigning for travel and encouraging everyone to join us in supporting “Travel ’16.”

Figuratively speaking, travel is the perfect presidential candidate:  it’s a job creator, it’s pro-family and it’s good for our health. Here’s why: the $2.1 trillion travel industry supports one in nine American jobs—research even demonstrates that 2016 election-related travel is already a boon for local economies, especially in states with presidential primaries. The travel industry provides good jobs in every single Congressional district in the country and is, in fact, one of the top 10 employers in almost all 50 states. Americans save an average of $1,147 in taxes each year because of travel-related tax revenue in their communities.

Travel also greatly benefits our relationships, families and children. Kids who travel with their families are more likely to attend college and earn more as adults. And it’s good for our well-being—numerous research studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off, from reducing the risk of heart disease to decreasing depression. That’s a platform anyone can support!

In light of these extraordinary returns, Knoxville is stumping for “Travel ‘16” this NTTW to make sure our elected leaders seek avenues to expand and support travel right here in our community.

Knoxville has so much to offer the traveler! From our Urban Wilderness to the diverse festivals, there’s a little something right around the corner. When people come to Knoxville to experience our scene, they generate around 988 million* dollars in visitor spending.  To be hospitable we have around 9100* hospitality employees. All of these things making it better for the local taxpayer. 

This year’s NTTW is more than just another campaign. It’s a movement that positions the travel industry as a “primary” driver in the U.S. economy and an important part of our daily lives.

*These are numbers from 2014 as the 2015 numbers will be out in the fall.