What to do if you don’t want to go to Memphis attractions
Memphis, Tennessee (CNN) If you’re not a Memphis tourist, you probably aren’t a Memphis visitor.
That’s the sentiment from local hotels, restaurants, attractions and other local businesses who are concerned about the impact that tourism will have on their bottom lines.
But the outlook is grim for visitors to the city.
“Visitors to Memphis are already a net loss for local businesses,” says Paul Buell, senior vice president of marketing for the Memphis-based Travelers Association of Greater Memphis.
“The tourism revenue has been very stagnant for the last couple of years.
We don’t see any more activity in our area.”
Bueill says tourism is the most important revenue stream for the city, but the number of people who are visiting is also declining.
“We have a lot of retirees and people who have been here a long time and they’re retiring.
So we are losing them,” he says.
“I’m afraid we are going to lose some of those folks.”
There’s a lot riding on Memphis’ next big wave.
The Tourism Bureau predicts that visitors to Memphis will hit 1.4 million in 2020, and Bueell says it’s going to be hard for the region to recover.
“There is a lot that needs to happen,” he explains.
“If we continue to see this decline, I think we’re going to see a lot less tourism for the next couple of decades.”
Tourism is a $1.3 billion industry in the United States.
Bueil says tourism can be a big draw for visitors, but it can also be a huge drag on the economy.
“Tourism can generate billions of dollars in economic activity in a very short period of time,” he notes.
“And when people see that their money is being wasted, they want to make sure that they are being able to spend it.”
In 2020, Memphis is expected to generate $14.4 billion in tourism revenue.
But Buele says the city has to do more to attract people to the region.
“To really be able to attract that number of visitors, we have to figure out how to make it easier for them to get into our city,” he said.
“That’s going a long way toward making us a destination for a lot more tourists.”
But Baull says that’s not going to happen overnight.
He says he’s concerned that tourists will be discouraged from visiting Memphis.
There are a lot moving parts in Memphis, from the tourist attractions and restaurants that attract people, to the neighborhoods that attract them, to all of the social and cultural activities that attract the locals.
“It’s not like we’re just in a state of limbo,” he warns.
“People have to take some steps to make this happen.
It’s going be a long, hard slog to get this thing done.”