A new study from the University of Tennessee shows visitors who went whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River last year pumped $43.3 million dollars into a 30 surrounding counties.
The study’s author, U-T Hospitality and Tourism Management economist Steve Morse, found the Ocoee was also last year’s most-visited whitewater river in the U.S.
"This study shows that tourism and visitor spending at the Ocoee River is fueling small businesses, creating jobs, worker paychecks and taxes in rural Tennessee," Morse says.
The study also shows that visitors supported 622 jobs, helped generate $14.12 million in worker paychecks, and contributed $3.57 million dollars in tax revenues for the counties impacted.
Visitor spending impact reached 14 East Tennessee counties - 13 in Georgia - and three counties in North Carolina.
Those counties include:
Tennessee - Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Cumberland, Hamilton, Loudon, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Polk, Rhea, Roane,Van Buren.
Georgia - Catoosa, Dade, Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Gordon, Lumpkin, Murray, Pickens, Towns, Union, Walker, Whitfield.
North Carolina - Cherokee, Clay, Graham.