Haslam lauds tourism, pledges to bring jobs to state

(WMC-TV) - The Tennessee Department of Tourism and Development says the state's tourism revenue in 2010 increased 6.3 percent from the previous year.

The department said Friday the state saw $14.1 billion in tourism dollars in 2010, and received $1 billion in state and local tax revenue from the tourism business.

The department also said that all 95 counties had an increase in tourism revenue from 2009 to last year.

Gov. Bill Haslam spoke Friday at the governor's conference on tourism in Memphis. Haslam said tourism is a critical part of the Tennessee economy.

"You keep bringing people here and that helps us to be able to fund better schools which helps us attract more jobs," he said.

Increasing tax revenue and creating jobs is why Haslam's recently announced a partnership with Amazon.

"We're pleased that Amazon is going to put 3,500 jobs here in Tennessee and invest $350 million," he said.

Although the Amazon deal will mean a new sales tax on products purchased on the website, Haslam says his main priority is putting people to work.

Probably the thing that I'm most focused on is how to bring more jobs, really across the state, here in Memphis, but really throughout, because all of us know someone who doesn't have work right now," he said.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this story.