Memphis Tourism hoping travel will continue to increase in 2022

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 6:36 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Tourism CEO Kevin Kane has high hopes for the year to come.

“We’re very encouraged as we look forward to 2022,” Kane said.

2021 tourism numbers in the Bluff City were above the national average, despite setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic. For instance, the Shelby County hotel market routinely outperformed national trends in room night demands.

”We are at 92 percent of what the rooms we brought to this city in 2019, which was a banner year. So, that’s five percent over the national average,” Kane said.

The city also welcomed more than 7.5 million visitors through the end of September, and with December events like the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, and New Year’s Eve, those numbers are expected to climb.

”We saw that rebound. It looks like by the end of December, we’ll be about nine million visitors this year, almost 10 million. So, according to all of our data, we are tracking to be a great rebound of 2022,” Kane said.

The city has big plans for 2022, like the return of the Beale Street Music Festival for the first time in nearly three years.

Memphis In May organizers announced part of the lineup this week, which includes big names like the Foo Fighters, Lil Wayne, and MoneyBagg Yo.

“We’re already selling in over 10 states and one foreign country before the announcement, and the phone’s been ringing off the hook,” said Randy Blevins with Memphis in May.

There’s a lot of development on the horizon for the city as well.

”We’re seeing improvements at the zoo, we’re seeing the airport long-awaited Concourse B will open in early 2022, of course, this building now is fully operational, and we’ve got a number of things booked through the Calendar year of 2022,” said Kane.

Kane says he hopes 2022 will also bring back a sense of normalcy to the city.

“2022′s going to be a better year than 2021, and 2021 was a lot better than 2020,” Kane said.

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