The Elvis Presley mansion, Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee receives close to 650,000 paid visits annually. During winter months up to 2,000 to 3,500 people may visit each day with more than 4,000 during July. According to Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) the economic benefit Memphis is more than $150 million.
Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Kevin Kane says it’s more like $158 million. Kane announced last week that “tourism in Memphis and Shelby County is a $3.2 billion industry. We attract more than 11 million visitors a year…It’s monumental what’s happened in this industry.”
“If you look at the foundations of travel and tourism – Graceland, what’s happened on Elvis Presley Boulevard with the new Guest House at Graceland and Elvis Presley’s Memphis experience,” Kane said “That’s a total transformation and is the anchor of tourism and hospitality for Memphis and Shelby County. They average somewhere between 600,000 and 650,000 visitors from all over the world annually. Their goal with all these enhancements is to get that number closer to a million annually.”
“Think about the impact that will have the entire Memphis economy because they visit our other area attractions and amenities in the city. It just magnifies itself over and over again and takes our industry to another level.”
According to Kane, Memphis hosted between six or seven million annual visitors 20 years ago.
“I can’t tell you how happy we are to not be where we were 30 years ago, which was one of the only things to do in town,” said Jack Soden, president and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
The $92 million, 450-room Guest House at Graceland resort hotel was only possible because the Memphis tourism market has grown so much in recent years, Soden said.
“We’re all in this together,” he said. “And that’s what’s neat about the tourism business. We don’t compete with one another. It’s like a rising tide (lifting) all boats.”